parset - set shell variables in parallel


parset variablename [options for GNU Parallel]


parset is a shell function that puts the output from GNU parallel into shell variables.

The parset function is defined as part of env_parallel.

If variablename is a single variable name, this will be treated as the destination variable and made into an array.

If variablename contains multiple names separated by ',' or space, the names will be the destination variables.

parset is beta quality and not production ready, but please use it for everyday use and report bugs.


Same as GNU parallel, but they are put after the destination variable.




Put output into myarray:

  parset myarray seq 3 ::: 4 5 6
  echo "${myarray[1]}"

Put output into vars $seq, $pwd, $ls:

  parset "seq pwd ls" ::: "seq 10" pwd ls
  echo "$ls"

Put output into vars $seq, $pwd, $ls:

  into_vars=(seq pwd ls)
  parset "${into_vars[*]}" ::: "seq 10" pwd ls
  echo "$ls"

The commands to run can be an array:

  cmd=("echo '<<joe  \"double  space\"  cartoon>>'" "pwd")
  parset data ::: "${cmd[@]}"
  echo "${data[0]}"
  echo "${data[1]}"

parset can not be part of a pipe. In particular this means it cannot read anything from standard input (stdin) or write to a pipe:

  seq 10 | parset res echo Does not work

but must instead use a tempfile:

  seq 10 > parallel_input
  parset res echo :::: parallel_input
  echo "${res[0]}"
  echo "${res[9]}"

or a FIFO:

  mkfifo input_fifo
  seq 30 > input_fifo &
  parset res echo :::: input_fifo
  echo "${res[0]}"
  echo "${res[29]}"

or Bash process substitution:

  parset res echo :::: <(seq 100)
  echo "${res[0]}"
  echo "${res[99]}"


Put this in $HOME/.bashrc:

  . `which env_parallel.bash`

E.g. by doing:

  echo '. `which env_parallel.bash`' >> $HOME/.bashrc


Same as GNU parallel.


When using GNU parallel for a publication please cite:

O. Tange (2011): GNU Parallel - The Command-Line Power Tool, ;login: The USENIX Magazine, February 2011:42-47.

This helps funding further development; and it won't cost you a cent. If you pay 10000 EUR you should feel free to use GNU Parallel without citing.

Copyright (C) 2007-10-18 Ole Tange,

Copyright (C) 2008,2009,2010 Ole Tange,

Copyright (C) 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017 Ole Tange, and Free Software Foundation, Inc.


Copyright (C) 2016 Ole Tange and Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or at your option any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <>.

Documentation license I

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parset uses GNU parallel.


parallel(1), env_parallel(1), bash(1).