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I am confused on the -exec command. E.g. in this case:

find . -type f -name "*.c" -exec cat {} \;>all_c_files.txt

It seems that I get cat file1 file2 file3 ... fileN

While in this case:

find . -type f -name "*.txt" -exec cp {} OLD \;

I get:

`cp file1 OLD`  
`cp file2 OLD`  
`cp file3 OLD`  
`cp fileN OLD`  

Similar case e.g. in:

find . -type f -name "*.txt" -exec printf "Text file: %s\n" {} \;

Seems to do:

printf "Text file: file1"  
printf "Text file: file2"  
printf "Text file: file3"  
printf "Text file: fileN"  

So how does exec work? I mean am I right that it behaves differently in these example?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I suppose that you are confused by cat command (and shell redirection), and not by find one.

find . -type f -name "*.c" -exec cat {} \; > all_c_files.txt is equivalent to:

  cat file1 ;
  cat file2 ;
  cat file3 ;
  cat fileN
) > all_c_files.txt

obviously the previous command and the following one have the same identical result:

cat file1 file2 file3 ... fileN > all_c_files.txt
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