What does ” 2>&1 ” mean?

File descriptor 1 is the standard output (stdout).
File descriptor 2 is the standard error (stderr).

At first, 2>1 may look like a good way to redirect stderr to stdout. However, it will actually be interpreted as “redirect stderr to a file named 1“.

& indicates that what follows and precedes is a file descriptor, and not a filename. Thus, we use 2>&1. Consider >& to be a redirect merger operator.

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