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I was wondering if there is a way to specify the first N files under a given a directory in zsh.

I am interested in solutions for recursive enumeration (i.e. any file recursively below a path is considered for the enumeration) and non-recursive (only those files strictly under a given folder are considered).

Thanks!

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's zsh, so indeed there's a glob qualifier for that.

echo *([1,42])         # The first 42 files in the current directory, in lexicographic order
echo **/*([1,42])      # The first 42 files in a depth-first traversal
echo **/*(od[1,42])    # The first 42 files in a breadth-first traversal

Other qualifiers that might be useful, for example the following expression includes dot files (D), restricts to regular files (.) and symbolic links (-) to regular files, and expands to an empty list if there is no match (N):

echo *(-.DN[1,42])
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