I'm trying to find all files, that make a given command end successfully (exit code 0).

The find man page says about -exec: Execute command; true if 0 status is returned.

Although listed under Actions, I thought, that this means, that files that make the given command end with 0 will be displayed.

Past uses and trying with find . -exec true \; and find . -exec false \;, which both gave no output, prove me wrong, though.

A sample invocation would be find . -exec ./is_dir.py {} \;, which should print all found directories. (I know, that you can test for this particular case. I couldn't find a combination of tests, that satisfy my actual needs.)

Failing to formulate my problem good enough, searching yielded no results.

1 Answer 1


You can do:

find . -exec ./is_dir.py {} \; -o -print

It will list everything that is not a directory. Assuming that is_dir.py is executable (chmod +x is_dir.py) and contains something like:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import sys
import os

if os.path.isdir(sys.argv[1]):

And if is_dir.py generates output of its own, you can do:

 rm -f nondir.lst
 find . -exec ./is_dir.py {} \; -o -exec echo  {} >> nondir.lst \;

so that its outoput doesn't get mixed with the list of names for which is_dir.py fails.

  • expr1 -o expr2, Or; expr2 is not evaluated if expr1 is true. Is found under Operators in the man page. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot.
    – Minix
    Nov 3, 2014 at 13:07
  • @Minix yes, -o is for "or"
    – Anthon
    Nov 3, 2014 at 13:09
  • @Minux alternatively you can adapt your script to write out a fail list and put everything in a try: except: block.
    – Anthon
    Nov 3, 2014 at 13:11
  • I used a for loop in the mean time. Will compare outputs after it's done, but I'm confident they will be the same. I will mark your question after it's done running.
    – Minix
    Nov 3, 2014 at 13:12
  • 1
    I try to test the things for real, that gives a higher chance I am not making typing errors. So I have a stackexchange/unix-165669-how-to-find-only-files-with-which-command-xyz-ends-successfully directory with a real ./is_dir.py and some mkdir-ed directories and some touched files. :-)
    – Anthon
    Nov 3, 2014 at 13:18

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