I'm logged into an IP Phone running MontaVista with a very stripped down BusyBox binary (by stripped down, I mean the OEM has removed almost all of its functionality, except the basics like cat, ls etc).

I'm doing an ls -l on a directory and there are thousands of files. I need to be able to pause the file list on the end of each page of results.

Normally I would do this with ls -l|more or even ls -l|less but of course, more and less are not present on this phone.

Are there any other low-level ways of making ls paginate? My only other option is to write the output to a file and then tftp it off the server and open it on a proper computer, but this is a very roundabout (and slow) method of doing it.

1 Answer 1


If you are accessing the device through a terminal, you can use GNU Screen to connect; you can then use Screen's scrolling to see the output.

If the system has vi installed, you can try outputting the command to a file and reading it with vi.

If those don't suffice, you can make a bash script to output a screen's worth then pause.

for line in $(ls -l); do
  echo "$line"
  [ "$i" = 50 ] && read && i=0

This prints 50 lines and waits for you to press enter before printing the next 50.

  • Perfect - that little script worked brilliantly. Slow, but that's OK as I need to scan the files by eye anyway. Feb 15, 2011 at 2:44
  • (Ah, I didn't see the sleep command in there, no wonder) Feb 15, 2011 at 2:46
  • Yeah - originally, I had a read there. It took a little bit to figure out why it wasn't working. You might be able to use read < /dev/console. Feb 15, 2011 at 3:22
  • Okay, edited to be better. Feb 15, 2011 at 3:46

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