I have directory A and B. Each of them contains another directory with item.json inside. Only item.json file is persistent in directories so I can't copy-paste the directories.


./path/Item A/item.json
./path/Item B/item.json
./path/Item Z/item.json


./new/Item A/item.json
./new/Item B/item.json
./new/Item Z/item.json

How should I copy all item.json files from ./path/ to appropriate folders in ./new ?

My solution:

To get directories

ls -l ./path | grep "^d" | cut -d' ' -f 16

So then I can use the results as:

for i in `ls -l ./path | grep "^d" | cut -d' ' -f 16`; echo "Dir: $i"; done

So I can do cp with them

for i in `ls -l ./path | grep "^d" | cut -d' ' -f 16`; cp "$i/item.json" "../new/$i/item.json" ; done

And this solution is ok, but I believe there's much more elegant way.

  • 1
    find ./path -type d -exec cp -rt ./new {} + – Costas Feb 17 '15 at 10:45

Your solution is fine! If you like to see alternatives, my suggestion is just cp!

I presume you want to copy just "item.json" files and that you can have other contents not to be copied.

cd path; cp --parents */item.json ../new

Below one liner should help you with it.

$ find ./path/ -type f -exec bash -c 'cp $0 ${0/path/new}' {} \;

Here the find command searches for all text file within the ./path/ directory. When a file is found it invokes a small bash script which copies that file to the destination /new/ directory by just replacing string from path to new.


Use cpio (or tar, but IMHO it slower and don't have -p option like cpio do)! It maintains permissions, dates, etc. (if asked to) and of course maintains directory structure.

I.e.: cd path ; find . | cpio -pvmd ../new

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