Sometimes I have a folder full of jpg's and I need to randomly choose 8 or so of them. How could I automate this so my account randomly chooses 8 jpg's from the folder and copies them to another destination?

My question is simple really, instead of using cp and giving it a file name then destination file name, I want to build a script that randomly chooses 8 of the .jpgs in the folder, and copies those to another folder.

  • you can use a combination of crontab and mv. – vfbsilva Jul 22 '15 at 19:55

You could use shuf:

shuf -zn8 -e *.jpg | xargs -0 cp -vt target/
  • shuf shuffles the list of *.jpg files in the current directory.
  • -z is to zero-terminate each line, so that files with special characters are treated correctly.
  • -n8 exits shuf after 8 files.
  • xargs -0 reads the input delimited by a null character (from shuf -z) and runs cp.
  • -v is to print every copy verbosely.
  • -t is to specify the target directory.

You could retrieve files in this way:

file_to_retrieve="${files[RANDOM % n]}"
cp $file_to_retrieve <destination>

make a loop 8 times.

  • So essentially rather than an answer you provide a list of variable names. – gented Dec 18 '18 at 22:35

The best answer absolutely didn't worked for me, because -e *.jpg doesn't actually look into the working directory. It's just an expression. So shuf doesn't shuffle anything...

I found the following improvement based on what I learned in that post.

find /some/dir/ -type f -name "*.jpg" -print0 | xargs -0 shuf -e -n 8 -z | xargs -0 cp -vt /target/dir/
  • The -e *.jpg expects a set of matching files in the current directory. If there are no matches it will (usually) return the single literal *.jpg to shuf, which then has only one element to consider. – roaima Dec 17 '17 at 13:58

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