xargs is a command that executes another command and generates its arguments from stdin

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78
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6answers
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When is xargs needed?

The xargs command always confuses me. Is there a general rule that can help me figure out when I need it? Consider the two examples below: $ \ls | grep Cases | less prints the files that match '...
31
votes
5answers
39k views

Sorting the output of “find”?

I need to be able to alphabetically sort the output of find before piping it to a command. Entering | sort | between didn't work, so what could I do? find folder1 folder2 -name "*.txt" -print0 | ...
23
votes
7answers
28k views

Using xargs with input from a file

Say I have a file with the following bob john sue Now these directly corrospond to (in this case) URL pattern such as http://example.com/persons/bob.tar, john.tar, sue.tar. I would like to take ...
21
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3answers
2k views

gnu find and masking the {} for some shells - which?

The man page for gnu find states: -exec command ; [...] The string `{}' is replaced by the current file name being processed everywhere it occurs in the arguments to the command, ...
19
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3answers
9k views

Find -exec + vs find | xargs. Which one to choose?

I understand that the -exec can take a + option to mimic the behaviour of xargs. Is there any situation where you'd prefer one form over the other? I personally tend to prefer the first form, if ...
19
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5answers
7k views

How to make `xargs` ignore child's exit and keep processing further

I sometimes run long xargs jobs overnight and it is really annoying to discover in the morning that xargs died somewhere in the middle, for example because of a segmentation fault in one single ...
14
votes
6answers
12k views

xargs with stdin/stdout redirection

I would like to run: ./a.out < x.dat > x.ans for each *.dat file in the directory A. Sure, it could be done by bash/python/whatsoever script, but I like to write sexy one-liner. All I could ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

bash find xargs grep only single occurence

Maybe it's a bit strange - and maybe there are other tools to do this but, well.. I am using the following classic bash command to find all files which contain some string: find . -type f | xargs ...
13
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6answers
2k views

Why does xargs cause apt-get to abort?

I'm trying to remove a list of packages from a file. I'm using the following command: cat packages | xargs sudo apt-get remove packages is my file containing a list of packages I want to remove. ...
13
votes
8answers
1k views

Spreading stdin to parallel processes

I have a task that processes a list of files on stdin. The start-up time of the program is substantial, and the amount of time each file takes varies widely. I want to spawn a substantial number of ...
12
votes
1answer
882 views

How to do `head` and `tail` on null-delimited input in bash?

find command can output names of files as a null-delimited strings (if -print0 is provided), and xargs can consume them with -0 option turned on. But in between, it's hard to manipulate that ...
12
votes
2answers
11k views

find + xargs: argument line too long

I have a line like the following: find /foo/bar -name '*.mp4' -print0 | xargs -i {} -0 mv -t /some/path {} but I got the following error: xargs: argument line too long I am confused. Isn't the ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

How to stop xargs from badly merging output from multiple processes?

I'm using xargs with the option --max-args=0 (alternatively -P 0). However, the output of the processes is merged into the stdout stream without regard for proper line separation. So I'll often end ...
11
votes
2answers
661 views

Piping nothing to xargs

I have a script that may in some circumstances have nothing on stdout. At the end of the script, I pass the lines I have to another command using xargs. My problem is, when there is nothing on stdout, ...
10
votes
2answers
16k views

How can I find files and then use xargs to move them?

I want to find some files and then move them. I can find the file with: $ find /tmp/ -ctime -1 -name x* I tried to move them to my ~/play directory with: $ find /tmp/ -ctime -1 -name x* | xargs ...
10
votes
6answers
50k views

How to search for a word in entire content of a directory in linux

need to search for something in entire content I am trying: find . | xargs grep word I get error: xargs: unterminated quote How to achieve this?
10
votes
3answers
844 views

How to execute a command repeatedly with different arguments?

I'm on Ubuntu. I copied some arguments (separated by newline) and I can use xsel to print them out like this $ xsel arg1 arg2 arg3 arg4 ... Now, I want to use each of these arguments for another ...
9
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5answers
530 views

find | xargs shasum creates checksum of checksum file itself (prematurely) and fails when checking

My problem (in a script with #!/bin/sh) is as follows: I try to checksum all files in a directory for archival purposes. The checksum (in my case sha1) file with all filenames should reside in the ...
9
votes
2answers
9k views

Is there any way to use xargs across a pipe?

I'm trying to automatically convert flac files moved to a folder into mp3 in another folder. My current line of code is this: inotifywait -m -r -q -e moved_to --format "'%w%f'" ~/test | xargs -I x ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

xargs : using same argument in multiple commands

Am trying to write a one-liner that can probe the output of df -h and alert when one of the partitions is out [or almost] of space. It's the part using xargs that kicking me in the ass now... echo 95 ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

“Argument list too long”: How do I deal with it, without changing my command?

When I run a command like ls */*/*/*/*.jpg, I get the error -bash: /bin/ls: Argument list too long I know why this happens: it is because there is a kernel limit on the amount of space for ...
9
votes
2answers
6k views

Why does xargs strip quotes from input?

Why does xargs strip quotes from input text? Here is a simplified example: echo "/Place/='http://www.google.com'" | xargs echo outputs /Place/=http://www.google.com Is there any way to work-...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How to delete commands in history matching a given string?

I need to delete all commands in my history matching a string. I've tried: $ history | grep searchstring | cut -d" " -f2 | history -d -bash: history: -d: option requires an argument $ history | grep ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Reformatting a large number of XML files

I'm manipulating a large number of XML files scattered throughout a nested directory structure. I tried the following (which almost works): $ find . -name "*.xml" -type f | xargs -- xmllint --format ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

`grep -l .. | xargs vim` generates a warning, why? [duplicate]

If I run a command like grep -rl test . | xargs vim I get a warning "Vim: Warning: Input is not from a terminal." But I am still able to edit the files. Why the warning?
8
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5answers
2k views

xargs and vi - “Input is not from a terminal”

I have about 10 php.ini files on my system, located all over the place, and I wanted to quickly browse through them. I tried this command: locate php.ini | xargs vi But vi warns me Input is not ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

Make xargs pass as first parameter

I'm trying to produce this behaviour: grep 192.168.1 *.txt By passing a string into grep via Xargs but it is going on the end instead of as the first parameter. echo 192.168.1 | xargs grep *.txt ...
8
votes
2answers
451 views

Unix: a question about xargs

On AIX (but this happens on HP-UX as well), I have GNU ls in my path and it is also aliased as ls. But when i use xargs, it uses the standard Unix ls instead of the alias. For example (flocate is a ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Convert newlines to null-delimited when using tail

How can I change the output from tail to use null-terminated lines instead of newlines? My question is similar to this one: How to do `head` and `tail` on null-delimited input in bash?, but differs ...
8
votes
3answers
532 views

correct xargs parallel usage

I am using xargs to call a python script to process about 30 million small files. I hope to use xargs to parallelize the process. The command I am using is: find ./data -name "*.json" -print0 | ...
7
votes
2answers
978 views

Why does xargs skip first argument when passing to subshell?

Looking for a way to invoke more than one command in a xargs one-liner, I found the recommendation in findutils to invoke the shell from xargs like this: $ find ... | xargs sh -c 'command $@' The ...
7
votes
3answers
246 views

Is there a way to make this one-liner faster?

Context I have a directory of thousands of zip files that are dated in the form YYYYMMDD_hhmmss.zip and each about 300K. Within each zip file is about 400 xml files each about 3K. The problem I ...
7
votes
4answers
997 views

Format output of xargs

I would like to change the format of the output xargs displays cat k.txt 1 2 3 And cat k.txt | xargs 1 2 3 However I would like to have 1, 2, 3 or 1|2|3. Any suggestions?
7
votes
3answers
7k views

Pass xargs argument as a string to another command with '>'?

Suppose I have a bunch of files in /tmp/. I do find . -type f | xargs -iFILES And I want to do a md5sum in each file, outputting to a file with the same name, but with .md5 extension. find . -...
7
votes
3answers
523 views

What's wrong with this xargs command?

Consider the output: % { echo one; echo two; echo three; } | xargs -I{} -L1 echo test-{} test-{} one test-{} two test-{} three Why doesn't {} get substituted as per the manual page (and my memory, ...
7
votes
5answers
715 views

Have xargs use alias instead of binary

Bash 4.2 on CentOS 6.5: In my ~/.bash_profile I have a bunch of aliases, including: alias grep='grep -n --color=always' so that I can get color highlighting and print line numbers automatically ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

How to open multiple files from `find` output?

I know I can open multiple files found in a dir like so: find -name *.foo -xargs <command> {} \; This works, but when trying to open a bunch of textfiles in gedit at the same time, it opens ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Why doesn't this xargs command work?

I wanted to delete all .sh extensions so did this: ls *.sh | xargs -I {} mv {} `basename {} .sh` However it doesn't work, it behaves like basename returns unchanged file name. Why is it behaving ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Provide parameters to scp with xargs

When I run svn st | awk '{print $2}', I get: a.py b.py c.py Then I want to scp these files to a remote server. I have tried: svn st | awk '{print $2}' | xargs scp my_name@my_server:~/ But it ...
6
votes
5answers
5k views

Deleting files with spaces in their names

I am trying to delete all the files with a space in their names. I am using following command. But it is giving me an error Command : ls | egrep '. ' | xargs rm Here if I am using only ls | egrep '. ...
6
votes
2answers
25k views

using xargs to grep multiple patterns

I have a file that has terms I want to grep for, with each term being one line in the file. I was thinking I could do this with xargs. What I'm able to glean from examples from the man page like this ...
6
votes
2answers
17k views

How can I concatenate all files in a directory together in one command line operation? [duplicate]

I have 1000 csv files in a directory. I would like to concatenate them all together in order. They are named img_size_1.csv to approx img_size_1000.csv This answer is close but assumes a list file. ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I get a single total of lines with `wc -l`?

I've added a git alias to give me the line counts of specific files in my history: [alias] lines = !lc() { git ls-files -z ${1} | xargs -0 wc -l; }; lc However, wc -l is reporting multiple totals, ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

create md5 hash from a recursive file listing when some paths have spaces

I need to create an md5 hash of every directory and file inside of one main directory. The only thing that is keeping me from success is figuring out a way around files with a space in the path. I am ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

Find images by size: find / file / awk

I've been trying to find png image files a certain height (over 500px). I know that file will return image dimensions. Example: $ file TestImg1a.png TestImg1a.png: PNG image data, 764 x 200, 4-...
6
votes
2answers
11k views

Moving files with find + xargs: target is not a directory?

When I run the following command: > mkdir some_dir > find /foo/bar/ -name '*.csv' -print0 | xargs -0 mv {} some_dir I get hundreds of lines that say: mv: target `/foo/bar/XX.csv` is not a ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I make xargs play nice with stdin?

$ seq 1 3 1 2 3 $ seq 1 3 | xargs echo 1 2 3 $ Mentally replace seq 1 3 with any command that lists entries one-per-line on standard out. How can I get more-or-less what you'd expect, i.e. the ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

recursively chmod

I was trying to chmod folders and files with: find . -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \; find . -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \; But I was wondering: How to do it in one line using find and excluding the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How to quote arguments with xargs

Suppose that I want to delete all files in a folder that are greater than 1 MB. $ find . -size +1M | xargs -0 rm This will not delete files that have space in their names. So I want it to quote all ...
5
votes
2answers
898 views

Is using xargs faster than not using it?

Is this faster: find /tmp -name core -type f | xargs /bin/rm -f than doing this: find /tmp -name core -type f -exec /bin/rm -f {} \; So would using xargs increase overall speed? (I got the ...