Chris Biscardi

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Cool Stuff You Can Do With fzf

fzf is an awesome tool for filtering and selecting lists of things on the command line.


kill <tab>


Generalizing kill

In addition to the autocomplete for kill, we can use fzf to pick from other lists as well. We can roughly reconstruct the behavior with a chain of other commands.

ps aux | fzf -m | awk '{print $2}' | xargs kill



Let’s do something a bit more fun. We can boot up a kube cluster using GKE, then interactively select a pod to exec into. First let’s create a cluster and start a sample pod.

gcloud container clusters create test-cluster
gcloud container clusters get-credentials test-cluster
kubectl create -f

We can check to make sure the pod is running by getting the pods.

➜ kubectl get pods
shell-demo 1/1 Running 0 22m

Now, with fzf, we can construct a command which will let us interactively pick a pod to exec into.

kubectl get pods --no-headers \
| fzf | awk '{print $1}' \
| xargs -o -I % kubectl exec -it % bash

Pick the pod (of which there’s only one for us right now).


This will get you a shell in a pod something like this, which you can then use and exit.

root@shell-demo:/# ls
bin dev home lib64 mnt proc run srv tmp var
boot etc lib media opt root sbin sys usr
root@shell-demo:/# exit


The xargs arguments are pretty crucial here. -I % allows us to use % in our command at any arbitrary point. % will get replaced with the pod name.

If we didn’t use -o, kubectl would error out complaining about not having a tty.

-o Reopen stdin as /dev/tty in the child process
before executing the command. This is useful
if you want xargs to run an interactive application.