What does the '\' in find -exec command


 
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# 1  
Old 08-06-2012
What does the '\' in find -exec command

Hi,
I have two scripts that remove files. One works fine and is coded
Code:
find -name "syst*" -mtime +1 -exec rm {} \;

The other is almost the same - only thing missing is the '\'. On that script though I keep getting:
rm syst1202.file ?

etc

Does the \ make that difference or is it a permissions problem

Cheers


Moderator's Comments:
Mod Comment Please use code tags next time for your code and data.

Last edited by zaxxon; 08-06-2012 at 10:11 AM.. Reason: code tags
# 2  
Old 08-06-2012
The exec action needs to be terminated by a ; which in turn may need to be escaped (e.g. by a leading \) form expansion by the shell. Excerpt from fnd's man page:
Quote:
-exec command ;
Execute command; true if 0 status is returned. All following arguments to find are taken to be arguments to the command until an argument consisting of `;' is encountered. The string `{}' is replaced by the current file name being processed everywhere it occurs in the arguments to the command, not just in arguments where it is alone, as in some versions of find. Both of these constructions might need to be escaped (with a `\') or quoted to protect them from expansion by the shell.
I'm puzzled by the error msg you quote, I'd expected sth. like find: missing argument to `-exec'

Last edited by RudiC; 08-06-2012 at 10:21 AM.. Reason: typo
# 3  
Old 08-06-2012
It is to keep the shell from interpreting the semicolon and have it as part of the find command. Another option is to add just an unescaped + at the end of the find command. The + will execute the command with grouped arguments instead of per result found by find when using {} \; and so will have a better performance.
Maybe escaped and unescaped works in your shell (somehow), but the usual way is to escape it. I assume you will be on the safe side with that.

Last edited by zaxxon; 08-06-2012 at 01:06 PM.. Reason: added info; spelling
This User Gave Thanks to zaxxon For This Post:
# 4  
Old 08-06-2012
Hi RudiC,
The missing '\' was unrelated...it turned out to be a basic permissions problem which I'd overlooked!
 
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