Bash Say Command In CI

April 8, 2019 by mtchavez

Sometimes you just need to say it from a bash script and some times your CI provider won’t be OK with that. Today I learned of one such provider, CircleCI who didn’t want to play nicely with using say

If you aren’t familiar with the say unix command it is a tool to help convert text to audible speech. I was recently writing some bash scripts with the goal of being obnoxious enough to use the command to remind developers to update their workstations. Since this affects a larger team there is CI set up to run tests against the bash scripts using Shpec.

While we were laughing at all the things we wanted to have the script say to outloud from the office laptops we noticed the build went red. Much to our chagrin it was the say command just hanging there silenced in some virtual cloud. Instead we had to come up with a special ‘say’ for just our CI builds.


if [[ ! -z $CI ]]; then
  SAY_CMD="echo Would have run: say "
// later in the code
$SAY_CMD "well isnt that special?"

In CircleCI they have some environment variables that are always there for CI runs, such as the $CI variable that is being used to make the check. The script is setting the SAY_CMD=say to be the original while in $CI we replace it with an echo and prepend it with some useful information.

It’s not fancy but it did the trick and the build went back to green. Our workstations got a little noisier but we still have our test coverage. If you want to know more about the say command check out the manpage for more info.


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