I'm using Solaris 10 and have two grep versions one in /usr/bin and one in /usr/xpg4/bin. I have been searching for an answer on how to search for text within files within sub folders of a parent directory using grep. All answers talk about -r or -R switches which I do not have available with my version of grep.

3 Answers 3


The standard (POSIX) syntax is:

find /path/to/parent -type f -exec grep 'XXX' /dev/null {} +

(the /dev/null is to make sure grep always prints a file name). That will work on all POSIX systems including Solaris. The only known post-90s systems where that's known not to work is old (very old now) GNU systems.

GNU initially introduced a -print0 predicate and a -0 option to xargs instead for that:

find /path/to/parent -type f -print0 | xargs -0 grep 'XXX' /dev/null

There are now a few other implementations that support that, but not Solaris.

Above, in theory, you'd want to add -r option to avoid running grep if there's not file, but that's not as portable and in this particular case, doesn't make a functional difference


Using GNU grep (if installed):

ggrep -A3 -B23 'word' -R /log/

This will check every files in folder if the regular expression word is matched and will show output together with file path.

GNU grep supports the -R flag.


Simply use ggrep which on solaris exists on /usr/sfw/bin/ggrep path like this:
/usr/sfw/bin/ggrep -H 'search-term' <file-name>*
it searches your search term on a group of file names starting with a specific word.

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