I created a backup on an external hard disc. Then I created another backup and copied all files to another external hard disc. I wanted to check with diff if everything was copied:

user@user:/media/user$ diff -r backup backup1
Nur in backup1/home/user: file.xls.
Nur in backup1/home/user: file.zip.

("nur" is German for "only".)

The diff shows two files that are not existing:

user@user:/media/user$ file backup1/home/user/file.xls.
backup1/home/user/file.xls.: cannot open backup1/home/user/file.xls. (No such file or directory)
user@user:/media/user$ file backup1/home/user/file.zip.
backup1/home/user/file.zip.: cannot open backup1/home/user/file.zip. (No such file or directory)

How does it come that diff shows these two files, and how can I fix the output of diff? The filesystem is LUKS on both external hard drives.

1 Answer 1


The output of diff -r with a German locale adds a . to the file.
Files backup1/home/user/file.xls and backup1/home/user/file.zip should exist.


$ mkdir dir1 dir2
$ touch dir1/foo
$ LANG=de_DE.UTF8 diff -r dir1 dir2
Nur in dir1: foo.
$ diff -r dir1 dir2
Only in dir1: foo
  • Oh i did not thought about that because i got many files with an ending dot... Thank you!
    – rmac38
    Jul 12, 2019 at 15:48
  • What a weird feature!  Great discovery! Jul 13, 2019 at 3:06
  • You should submit a bug report about this. Looking through the po directory of diffutils, only the DE translation does append a period to the filename. All european languages end sentences with a period, there's nothing that stringently German about it. In this case, they could just get rid of it like everybody else ;-)
    – user313992
    Jul 13, 2019 at 7:07
  • I will do later. Some scripts could break with this dot and German locale. I was used to English locale, too.
    – rmac38
    Jul 13, 2019 at 12:00
  • I filled a bug but don't know if this is the right place. Bug number 1 seems not right ;) github.com/Distrotech/diffutils/issues/1 If there is a better place please tell me.
    – rmac38
    Jul 13, 2019 at 13:15

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