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[USERNAME@host ~] echo -e 'prdxxx\ndadxxx' | grep "da*xxx"
[USERNAME@host ~] echo $SHELL
[USERNAME@host ~] dpkg -l | grep -iw bash
ii  bash                                    4.1-2ubuntu3                                    The GNU Bourne Again SHell
ii  bash-completion                         1:1.1-3ubuntu2                                  programmable completion for the bash shell
[USERNAME@host ~] 

Why does da*xxx find prdxxx too? It doesn't contains da... did I found a grep bug? or is this a feature?

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Related to your confusion, see Why do regular expressions differ from that used to filter files. – manatwork Jan 2 '13 at 11:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It is working fine as per the meaning of the '*'.

* -> 0 or more occurences of prev character.

Since you are checking for a*, this will match 0 or more a's. This means da*xxx can match dxxx, daxxx, daaxxx, daaaxxx, and so on.

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why does "da*xxx" finds "prdxxx" string too? – gasko peter Jan 2 '13 at 8:11
becuase it contains dxxx. It does not matter what is before or after that. – Guru Jan 2 '13 at 8:13

There is a difference between normal shell file name patterns (called glob) where * matches any number of unknown characters, and regular expressions that are used for example by grep, where * stands for zero or more occurences of the previous pattern (this is the character a in your example).

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