1

The solution to this problem has been evading me for weeks. I am attempting to write a command to find only world writable files in a specific set of directories without traversing into any sub directories using -prune.

I have attempted a multitude of different options only to be left with

find / -type f -perm -2

This however, still traverses into the sub-directories. Using the command

find / -prune -type f -perm -2

yields no results either. Where am I going wrong with this?

4

Try using maxdepth N instead:

-maxdepth levels
Descend at most levels (a non-negative integer) levels of directories below the starting-points. -maxdepth 0 means only apply the tests and actions to the starting-points themselves.

find $FOLDER -maxdepth 1 -perm -2
  • Add -mindepth 1, otherwise you're also matching the starting directory itself. (It doesn't matter if the only action is behind a -type f of course.) – Gilles Sep 24 '16 at 23:30
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find / -type f -perm -2

This is recursive. That's what find does.

find / -prune -type f -perm -2

Here, you're instructing find to apply -prune to everything it finds. The conditions and actions are processed from left to right; since there's no condition before -prune, it's applied unconditionally. So the first thing that find finds, which is the command line argument /, has -prune applied to it, and so find doesn't traverse the content of the directory. Since / doesn't match the following conditions, it isn't printed.

To process only the entries of the toplevel directory, you need to apply -prune to the directories except the command line arguments. The portable way to do this is to use /. at the end of path passed on the command line. This causes find to treat their name as ., so you can use -name . to match them. In a recursive traversal, no file is ever called . since this name is reserved. Now there are three different cases:

  • Toplevel directory: recurse.
  • Other directory: don't recurse.
  • Regular file that are world-writable: print.

To specify several different behaviors, use the -o (“or”) operator. The first one for which all conditions match applies.

find /. -name . -o -type d -prune -o -type f -perm -2 -print

Some versions of find allow you to write find / -name / -o -type d -prune -o … but some don't (e.g. BusyBox).

Some versions of find support options -mindepth and -maxdepth to constrain the recursive traversal. If your find supports it, you can use this instead of -prune.

find / -mindepth 1 -maxdepth 1 -type f -perm -2

(-mindepth and -maxdepth are global options, the conditions-and-actions part is -type f -perm -2 with the implicit trailing -print.)

  • Much appreciated Gilles! This does exactly what I need it to. Min and Maxdepth are not an option as our environment uses several flavors of *nix. – M L Sep 27 '16 at 15:53

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