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I'm using this command to recursively generate a SHA-512 hash for each file in a directory hierarchy:

find . -type f -exec openssl sha512 {} \;

I'd like to sort the files in lexicographical order before generating the hashes.

I can use sort like this:

find . -type f | sort

but I'm not sure how to then pipe the sorted file list into openssl. I tried this:

find . -type f | sort | openssl sha512

but this generates a single hash of the entire output of sort, whereas I want a hash for each individual file.

find in some versions of bash includes an -s option ("Cause find to traverse the file hierarchies in lexicographical order"), but this isn't available in my version of find.

Many thanks in advance for your help!

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can use xargs to get what you want.

find . -type f -print0 | sort -z | xargs -0 -n1 openssl sha512

The -n1 option tells xargs to only allow one argument to be given to the openssl command. The -print0, -z and -0 options prevent the pipeline from breaking if there are "problem" characters (like an embedded newline) in the filenames.

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Many thanks, that works perfectly! I haven't used xargs before, but I can see it's very useful for situations like this. It's great to learn that find, sort and xargs all have support for null-terminated items, so they can all be combined in a single pipeline like this! – TachyonVortex Nov 25 '12 at 16:18

Pipe it to xargs -L 1 openssl sha512, like this:

find . -type f | sort | xargs -L 1 openssl sha512

xargs takes outputs and runs it as the command line of the program, the "-L 1" limits it to one line per execution.

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