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Currently in my bashrc I export a variable export dl="path/to/Downloads". The path contains a space in it so whenever I mv something from the directory, I have to quote the dl variable such as mv "$dl"/*.py somewhere/else. Is there any way I can define the variable dl in a way that I don't have to quote it in the command line, i.e., in a way that I could just do mv $dl/*.py somewhere/else?

I've seen similar questions asked on here but haven't been able to find a solution to this specific problem, so pardon me if it's a duplicate post.

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  • I don't think so. You have to double-quote it, otherwise, it will split. – annahri Nov 6 '20 at 6:47
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No you can't. You can use another shell language, create a symlink without spaces to that dir, or use some alias trickery.

I personally would not do the latter, since I will soon forget about it ;-)

But here is an example, anyway:

# usage: q cmd ...
# just like cmd ..., only without IFS splitting
alias q='_q=$(fc -nl -0); IFS= eval "${_q#*q}" #'

$ src='foo bar' dst='baz quux'
$ q mkdir -p $src/dir $dst
$ q mv $src/dir $dst
$ q ls $dst
dir

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  • Perfect, exactly what I wanted! – Revoltechs Nov 6 '20 at 2:21
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Not your question exactly, but if your problem is explicitly with a common operation moving files from the Downloads folder you could use an specific alias for that:

alias dl-mv='mv "$dl"/'

Of course, you could rename/change the location of Downloads folder as well (or use a symlink with no spaces on its path).

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