How To Script "Yes" When Installing Programs on Linux?


Installing programs on Linux can sometimes require user interaction, such as agreeing to license terms or specifying installation options. One way to automate this process is to use a script that automatically inputs the desired responses. In this article, we will discuss how to script the word "yes" when installing programs on Linux using the command line.

Using the "yes" Command

The yes command is a simple utility that repeatedly outputs a string, which can be useful for automated tasks such as accepting license agreements.

Installing the "yes" Command

Before we can use the yes command, we need to make sure it is installed on our system. To do this, we can use the package manager for our Linux distribution. For example, on a Debian-based system such as Ubuntu, we can use apt-get as follows.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install coreutils

This will install the yes command and other core utilities that may be useful for automating tasks.

To use it, simply type yes followed by the string you want to output. For example.

$ yes "Yes, I agree to the terms and conditions"
Yes, I agree to the terms and conditions
Yes, I agree to the terms and conditions
Yes, I agree to the terms and conditions

The yes command will continue to output the specified string until it is interrupted with Ctrl+C.

Piping "yes" to Other Commands

To use the yes command in conjunction with other commands, we can pipe the output to the desired command using the "|" symbol. For example, to install a program using "aptget" and automatically agree to the prompts, we can use the following command.

$ yes | apt-get install program

This will send the string "yes" to the "apt-get" command as if it were typed by the user, effectively accepting all prompts without further interaction.

Note: Make sure to use the "|" symbol instead of ">" or ">>", as these will redirect the output to a file rather than piping it to the next command.

Using "yes" with Expect Command

In some cases, the prompts may not be as straightforward as simple "yes/no" questions. In these cases, we can use the "expect" utility to script more complex responses.

To use "expect", we first need to install it using the following command.

$ sudo apt-get install expect

Then, we can create a script using the "expect" command, specifying the prompts and desired responses as shown below.

#!/usr/bin/expect -f
spawn program_installer
expect "Do you agree to the terms and conditions?"
send "Yes
" expect "Enter installation path:" send "/opt/program
" expect eof

In this example, the "spawn" command runs the "program_installer" and the "expect" commands specify the prompts and responses. The "send" command sends the specified string to the command as if it were typed by the user.

When creating an "expect" script, it's important to make sure that the prompts and responses match exactly, as any discrepancies could cause the script to fail. It's also a good idea to test the script with a small sample of prompts before using it on a larger scale.

Overall, "expect" is a powerful tool for automating tasks that require complex user interaction, and can save time and effort when installing programs on Linux.


If you encounter any errors or unexpected behavior while using the "yes" or "expect" commands, there are a few things you can try to troubleshoot the issue.

  • Make sure you have the necessary dependencies installed. "expect" requires the "tcl" package to be installed, so make sure this is installed before running "expect" scripts.

  • Check the syntax of your commands and scripts. Make sure you are using the correct flags and arguments, and that there are no typos or missing elements.

  • Check the documentation for the command or program you are installing. Some programs may have additional prompts or options that you need to specify in your script.

  • If you are using "expect", make sure you are specifying the correct prompts and responses. You can use the "expect -d" flag to enable debugging mode and see the output of the script in more detail.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to successfully script responses when installing programs on Linux.


In this article, we have discussed how to use the "yes" command and "expect" utility to script responses when installing programs on Linux. By automating these tasks, we can save time and effort when setting up a new system or installing multiple programs.