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Why does python's recursive copy not work the same as on the command line?

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http://stackoverflow.com – I'm trying to do a recursive copy of a directory structure in my python script. When I do the copy via the bash command line: mike@mike-VirtualBox:~/head$ cp -rf ./applications/app_template/ ./applications/my_dir I get the expected results: mike@mike-VirtualBox:~/head$ tree ./applications/my_dir/ ./applications/my_dir/ ├── cdl │ ├── include │ ├── Makefile │ ... │ └── other ├── cds │ ├── include ... However when I try to do the same thing via my Python script: print "./applications/"+tar_dir os.system("cp -rf ./applications/app_temp (HowTos)