If the pipe is '<' or nothing, the file is opened for input. If the pipe is '>', the file is truncated and opened for output, being created if necessary. If the pipe is '>>', the file is opened for appending, again being created if necessary. You can put a '+' in front of the '>' or '<' to indicate that you want both read and write access to the file; thus '+<' is almost always preferred for read/write updates--the '+>' mode would clobber the file first. You can't usually use either read-write mode for updating textfiles, since they have variable length records
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