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I need to use the rename command to rename hundreds of files which contain .. (2 periods) within the filename and change .. to - (hyphen). The fact that it contains periods seems to be confusing the rename command.

Here are some example filenames:

20180201_190000_TX_AJAX..HHE_instrument_0456 
20180201_190000_TX_AJAX..HHN_instrument_0456 
20180201_190000_TX_AJAX..HHZ_instrument_0456

I need to rename these files to look linke:

20180201_190000_TX_AJAX-HHE_instrument_0456 
20180201_190000_TX_AJAX-HHN_instrument_0456 
20180201_190000_TX_AJAX-HHZ_instrument_0456

This command:

rename 's/../-/' *

results in these filenames:

-180201_190000_TX_AJAX..HHE_instrument_0456 -180201_190000_TX_AJAX..HHN_instrument_0456 -180201_190000_TX_AJAX..HHZ_instrument_0456

It seems that periods have some special purpose so it's getting confused. I then tried this:

rename 's/..H/-H/' *

The AJAX in the sample represents a station and these vary. The above syntax works and results in "20180201_190000_TX_AJAX-HHE_instrument_0456" as expected for many stations but unexpected results for others:

20180201_000000_SA.AKHBR..HNE_instrument_0542 renamed as 20180201_000000_SA.-HBR..HNE_instrument_0542

20180201_000000_SA.KSHB4..HHE_instrument_0935 renamed as 20180201_000000_SA.-HB4..HHE_instrument_0935

20180201_000000_SA.HTM01..HHE_instrument_0933 renamed as 20180201_000000_S-HTM01..HHE_instrument_0933

It seems any station which contains the letter H gets confused.

For some reference, AJAX is a station code, and station codes are either 4 or 5 characters in length.

Next I tried this:

rename ‘s/SA.????..H/SA.????-H/ * -n 

but this generates an error:

"Nested quantifiers in regex; marked by <-- HERE in m/SA.??? <-- HERE ?..H/ at (eval 1) line 1."

so I guess it doesn't like wildcards.

Any help you can provide is appreciated.

2

Try this :

rename -n 's/\.\./-/' ./*

The . character in , means any character, so it matches everything!

Remove -n when you are satisfied with your tests

0

The dot will match any character, so the double dot matches the first two characters in the filenames, which is why these are being replaced by a dash by rename. Either escape each dot in the regular expression as \. or use a loop (this is written for bash):

for name in ./*..*; do
    newname=${name/../-}
    printf 'Would move %s to %s\n' "$name" "$newname"
    # mv -i "$name" "$newname"
done

Run once and make sure that it outputs the correct thing before removing the # and running again.

The loop will iterate over all names in the current directory that contains two consecutive dots. The ${name/../-} parameter substitution will replace the first occurrence of two consecutive dots with a dash. This is a shell filename globbing pattern, so the dot is not special in any way.

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