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I'd like to write something like this:

$ ls **.py

in order to get all .py filenames, recursively walking a directory hierarchy.

Even if there are .py files to find, the shell (bash) gives this output:

ls: cannot access **.py: No such file or directory

Any way to do what I want?

EDIT: I'd like to specify that I'm not interested in the specific case of ls, but the question is about the glob syntax.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

In order to do recursive globs in bash, you need the globstar feature from bash version 4 or higher.

From the bash manpage:

globstar
        If set, the pattern ** used in a pathname expansion context will 
        match a files and zero or more directories and subdirectories.  
        If  the  pattern is followed by a /, only directories 
        and subdirectories match

.

For your example pattern:

shopt -s globstar
ls **/*.py
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2  
I'd recommend also enabling nullglob –  glenn jackman Oct 4 '12 at 16:50
2  
@glennjackman But before enabling nullglob, I would strongly advise reading following warnings. –  Serge Stroobandt Jun 19 '13 at 21:53
find . -name '*.py'

** doesn't do anything more than a single *, both operate in the current directory

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Interesting. Though, I'm more focused on the glob syntax by itself, because I have to use it in a configuration file (include directive). I don't need a list of files. –  Guandalino Oct 4 '12 at 15:48
    
@Doug O'Neal, that's no longer true. bash has now copied that zsh feature (though it adopted a syntax closer to that of ksh93 and like ksh, doesn't support zsh's globbing qualifiers yet which limits its usefulness) –  Stéphane Chazelas Oct 4 '12 at 20:34

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