Bash Pipelines Modify continuous output of a command


Example

~$ ping -c 1 google.com # unmodified output
PING google.com (16.58.209.174) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net (16.58.209.174): icmp_seq=1 ttl=53 time=47.4 ms
~$ ping google.com | grep -o '^[0-9]\+[^()]\+' # modified output
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
64 bytes from wk-in-f100.1e100.net 
...

The pipe (|) connects the stdout of ping to the stdin of grep, which processes it immediately. Some other commands like sed default to buffering their stdin, which means that it has to receive enough data, before it will print anything, potentially causing delays in further processing.