I want to quickly compare files in two different directories to see if the files are the same (same content). I want to see the results in Kompare (I'm on KDE - Kubuntu 12.04).

Here's my diff command:

diff -EwbBsy /directory/one /directory/two

(That command would suit me even better if it ignored any files in /directory/one that are not already present in /directory/two, but I couldn't figure out how to achieve that.)

To use Kompare, I do this:

diff -EwbBsy /directory/one /directory/two | kompare -o -

However, that gives the following error:

Error: Could not parse diff output.

I also tried:

diff -Ewbus /directory/one /directory/two | kompare -o -

and just

diff /directory/one /directory/two | kompare -o -

and a few other variations without success. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

  • Are you opposed to using kdiff3 instead of kompare?
    – slm
    Jul 16, 2013 at 1:36
  • I'm not opposed to kdiff3, but it isn't installed by default and kompare is installed.
    – MountainX
    Jul 16, 2013 at 1:58
  • It's a KDE app, but yes, you'd have to install it. Is that an option?
    – slm
    Jul 16, 2013 at 2:09
  • Your comparing all the files in dir one with dir two, or is the one and the two files?
    – slm
    Jul 16, 2013 at 2:10
  • @slm Yes I am comparing all the files in dir one with dir two. Normally, it would compare fileA in dir/one with fileA in dir/two, then do the same with fileB, fileC, etc.
    – MountainX
    Jul 16, 2013 at 3:49

1 Answer 1


It doesn't seem to be able to handle the -y switch which does the side-by-side style of diff, but you can use the unified diff (-u). You can't mix these 2 styles so it's either -y or -u. So doing this worked for me:

$ diff -EwbBsu /directory/one /directory/two | kompare -o -

This will not show the entire file with the matches, just the line that was different, with 3 lines of context, by default. If you want more context you can provide -u a argument of a number (u 10) for example.

$ diff -EwbBsU 10 /directory/one /directory/two | kompare -o -
  • That's strange. I still get the same error with your command Could not parse diff output. Maybe my problem is with kompare. However, kompare works fine in normal GUI usage.
    – MountainX
    Jul 16, 2013 at 1:49
  • @MountainX - it works fine in normal for me as well. What version are you using? kompare --version Qt: 4.7.4 KDE Development Platform: 4.6.5 (4.6.5) Kompare: 4.0.0.
    – slm
    Jul 16, 2013 at 2:07
  • kompare --version Qt: 4.8.1 KDE Development Platform: 4.8.5 (4.8.5) Kompare: 4.1.2
    – MountainX
    Jul 16, 2013 at 2:42
  • @MountainX - What's the distro?
    – slm
    Jul 16, 2013 at 2:44
  • Kubuntu 12.04 LTS
    – MountainX
    Jul 16, 2013 at 3:47

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