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I want to limit the number of files that get put into a tar ball and erease them after they've been inserted into the tarball and being indipendent from the current directory. I've tried this: tar -C ~/semios/tmp/ -cjvf ~/semios/tmp/test.tar.bz2 $(cd ~/semios/tmp/; ls *| head -5) | xargs rm -f but this leaves the files where they are as the verbose option of tar only prints the file name, not the whole path, I thought I could fix it with the -C argument but it doesn't look like it... any hints?

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Assuming no evil chars (whitespace, newlines) in the paths:

... $(ls ~/semios/tmp/*| head -5) | xargs -d '\n' rm -f

or

... | { cd ~/semios/tmp/; xargs -d '\n' rm -f; }

or

tar -C ~/semios/tmp/ -cjvf ~/semios/tmp/test.tar.bz2 \
  $(cd ~/semios/tmp/; ls * | head -5 | 
    { while read file; do echo "$file"; rm -f "$file"; done;})

edit

As xargs uses any blanks as delimiters by default, newline should be set as the only delimiter. But due to the $() this example would crash even with whitespace in the name.

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or

$ tar -cjf test.tar.bz2 $(find ~/semios/tmp/ -name "*"| head -5 | xargs rm -f)

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  • Have you tried that? – Hauke Laging May 3 '14 at 5:33
  • @HaukeLaging yes I have – stdcerr May 3 '14 at 6:09
  • That is really strange because if I run something like $(find ~/semios/tmp/ -name "*"| head -5 | xargs rm -f) then it expands to nothing. – Hauke Laging May 3 '14 at 7:28

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