Removing empty folders using 'find'

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# 1  
Old 04-17-2008
Removing empty folders using 'find'

Hey there!

I try to use 'find' to remove empty directories like this:
find . -depth -type d -empty -exec rm -rf {} ';'

It works just fine, but there are some directories i want to exclude.
So i tried to do sth like this:
find . -depth -type d -empty -exec grep -v "not this one please" -exec rm -rf {} ';'

but this isn't working. Smilie

How can i include the 'grep -v' to achieve this?

Last edited by Yogesh Sawant; 04-21-2008 at 06:34 AM.. Reason: added code tags
# 2  
Old 04-17-2008
find . -depth -type d -empty -print |
grep -v "not this one please" |
xargs rmdir

If you have newlines or other tricky stuff in your path names, you need to take some additional precautions, but let's assume you don't.

To grep for more than one thing at the same time, egrep is helpful.

egrep -v 'not this one|or this one|nor this one either|neither this'

# 3  
Old 04-17-2008
Thanks that did the trick. Smilie
Also thank you for the egrep additional tip!
# 4  
Old 04-20-2008
I have to bump this thread, .. expanding the original question.

Let's say I want to search for folders that are empty, but are also declared as empty despite if there are dot-files (.gnome, .kde, etc.). So dot-files are ignored, only visible files are important. So basically what I want to achieve is: search for folders and if NO visible item is in it then print it to the shell.

I don't think find can do this, i rather have the feeling that this is doable with regular expressions, at which I have no clue about tbh. Smilie

Has someone an idea to accomplish this task?

Last edited by deTTo; 04-20-2008 at 09:09 PM..
# 5  
Old 04-21-2008
Maybe it would be better to start a new thread for this question, but anyway, here goes.

1. Search for any directory

2. If directory contains any non-dot files, skip it (= mark for keeping).

3. Otherwise, print it.

find -type d -print |
while read dir; do
  for file in "$dir"/*; do
    case $file in
      "$dir"/.*) continue;;  # redundant?  see below
      # "$dir"/\*) continue;;  # maybe need this too, depend on globbing settings
      *) keep=true; break;;
  if ! $keep; then
    echo "$dir"

Maybe radoulov can come up with an elegant one-liner for this; it's not particularly succinct.

This just echoes the directories; if it seems to work for you, you can change the echo to rm -rf

If your shell doesn't expand non-matching wildcards to an empty string, you might need the case which I commented out, too. (Actually maybe the .* case is redundant; wildcards don't expand dotfiles in bash at least.)

Last edited by era; 04-21-2008 at 04:31 AM.. Reason: empty-glob observation
# 6  
Old 04-21-2008
Yeah I had to uncomment the second 'dir-line' and it's working as far as i tested it. Thanks buddy! Smilie I'm pretty amazed by how easy it can(!) be if one is good at bash scripting skills. I have to learn more, but this gave me confidence to get better and better.
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