I ran the following command to zip all files starting with db- and ending with .sql:

zip /var/www/html/db-$(date +\%F-\%T).zip /var/www/html/^db-*.sql

Yet I get:

zip warning: name not matched: /var/www/html/^db-*.sql

zip error: Nothing to do! (/var/www/html/db.zip)

As I used a caret to match all starting with db-, and than added in *.sql in the end to match all ending with .sql, I don't understand my mistake.

I tried other variations with ^ but all failed with a similar error.


Bash parameters are not regular expressions, they are globs. Use:

$ zip /var/www/html/db-$(date +\%F-\%T).zip /var/www/html/db-*.sql

From bash's manual, under "Pattern Matching":

* Matches any string, including the null string. When the globstar shell option is enabled, and * is used in a pathname expansion context, two adjacent *s used as a single pattern will match all files and zero or more directories and subdirectories. If followed by a /, two adjacent *s will match only directories and subdirectories.

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  • Also, filename globbing patterns are anchored by default, so db-*.sql would match any filename starting with db- and ending with .sql. Regular expressions are different. – Kusalananda Aug 9 '17 at 16:09
  • You'd also want to add the -nw option to avoid zip doing its own wildcard interpretation (in addition to the shells), or quote the glob for the shell so that it's done in zip instead. (or use a more unixy command like bsdtar to create the zip file to avoid this kind of msdos-like behaviour). – Stéphane Chazelas Aug 9 '17 at 16:11
  • I think I miss why regex can be used in sed or awk or grep (AFAICR), but not on zip. – user149572 Aug 9 '17 at 16:21
  • That's because sed and awk and grep are regular expression tools, built to use them (the 're' in grep actually stands for 'regular expression' -- Global Regular Expression Print -- from its origins in (as I recall) an ex (or possibly ed) command). Shells such as bash and tools such as zip are not. – DopeGhoti Aug 9 '17 at 16:45

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