No such file (when using pipes) in MacOS terminal

Using the German keyboard, I have to use a combination of the [Alt] modifier key and other keys to be able to print characters like brackets or the pipe symbol.

Using pipes in shell commands, sometimes this happens:

$> echo "foo" | wc -l
bash:  wc: command not found

Hm. Weird. “wc” should be present on this system. Let’s check:

$> which wc
/usr/bin/wc

Hm. So why isn’t this working?

Seems like my left thumb spent a few milliseconds too long on the [Alt] key… So instead of typing (space) (pipe) (space) I typed (space) (pipe) (Alt+Space)… hence the bash error.

If you’re using iTerm2 as your terminal app in MacOS (you really should!), the workaround is an easy one: in the settings (Preferences – Keys) you can set the keystroke “[Alt] + [Space]” to produce a regular space:

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