Linux – Is it wasteful to call cat


I’m sorry if this question is really stupid, but this is basically what I have been thinking about constantly. Suppose I run:

: cat ./somefile.txt

A few hundred times a second. How much faster is my hard drive going to die?

Best Answer

  • Seven. But seriously, it's hard enough to know how long a disk will last while idling let alone under heavy load. There's no answer other than to say it will probably wear the disk faster.

    The better argument against this is it would generally be quite slow. Why would you need to hammer the disk like that?

    If you're looking to find out when something changes, perhaps look at inotify which is a kernel-based file event system that can call some code when something happens, negating the need to hammer the disk.

    There are wrappers like pyinotify to make things easier.

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