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GLOB(7)                    Linux Programmer's Manual                   GLOB(7)

       glob - Globbing pathnames

       Long  ago, in Unix V6, there was a program /etc/glob that would expand wildcard patterns.  Soon afterwards this
       became a shell built-in.

       These days there is also a library routine glob(3) that will perform this function for a user program.

       The rules are as follows (POSIX.2, 3.13).

   Wildcard Matching
       A string is a wildcard pattern if it contains one of the characters '?', '*' or '['.  Globbing is the operation
       that expands a wildcard pattern into the list of pathnames matching the pattern.  Matching is defined by:

       A '?' (not between brackets) matches any single character.

       A '*' (not between brackets) matches any string, including the empty string.

       Character classes

       An expression "[...]" where the first character after the leading '[' is not an '!' matches a single character,
       namely any of the characters enclosed by the brackets.  The string enclosed by the brackets  cannot  be  empty;
       therefore  ']'  can  be  allowed between the brackets, provided that it is the first character.  (Thus, "[][!]"
       matches the three characters '[', ']' and '!'.)


       There is one special convention: two characters separated by '-'  denote  a  range.   (Thus,  "[A-Fa-f0-9]"  is
       equivalent  to  "[ABCDEFabcdef0123456789]".)  One may include '-' in its literal meaning by making it the first
       or last character between the brackets.  (Thus, "[]-]" matches just the two characters ']' and '-', and "[--0]"
       matches the three characters '-', '.', '0', since '/' cannot be matched.)


       An  expression  "[!...]" matches a single character, namely any character that is not matched by the expression
       obtained by removing the first '!' from it.  (Thus, "[!]a-]" matches any single character except ']',  'a'  and

       One  can  remove  the special meaning of '?', '*' and '[' by preceding them by a backslash, or, in case this is
       part of a shell command line, enclosing them in quotes.  Between brackets  these  characters  stand  for  them-
       selves.  Thus, "[[?*\]" matches the four characters '[', '?', '*' and '\'.

       Globbing  is applied on each of the components of a pathname separately.  A '/' in a pathname cannot be matched
       by a '?' or '*' wildcard, or by a range like "[.-0]".  A range cannot contain an explicit '/'  character;  this
       would lead to a syntax error.

       If  a filename starts with a '.', this character must be matched explicitly.  (Thus, rm * will not remove .pro-
       file, and tar c * will not archive all your files; tar c . is better.)

   Empty Lists
       The nice and simple rule given above: "expand a wildcard pattern into the list of matching pathnames"  was  the
       original Unix definition.  It allowed one to have patterns that expand into an empty list, as in
           xv -wait 0 *.gif *.jpg
       where  perhaps  no *.gif files are present (and this is not an error).  However, POSIX requires that a wildcard
       pattern is left unchanged when it is syntactically incorrect, or the list of matching pathnames is empty.  With
       bash one can force the classical behavior by setting allow_null_glob_expansion=true.

       (Similar problems occur elsewhere.  E.g., where old scripts have
           rm `find . -name "*~"`
       new scripts require
           rm -f nosuchfile `find . -name "*~"`
       to avoid error messages from rm called with an empty argument list.)

   Regular expressions
       Note  that  wildcard patterns are not regular expressions, although they are a bit similar.  First of all, they
       match filenames, rather than text, and secondly, the conventions are not the same: for example,  in  a  regular
       expression '*' means zero or more copies of the preceding thing.

       Now  that  regular  expressions  have  bracket  expressions where the negation is indicated by a '^', POSIX has
       declared the effect of a wildcard pattern "[^...]" to be undefined.

   Character classes and Internationalization
       Of course ranges were originally meant to be ASCII ranges, so that "[ -%]" stands for  "[ !"#$%]"  and  "[a-z]"
       stands  for  "any lowercase letter".  Some Unix implementations generalized this so that a range X-Y stands for
       the set of characters with code between the codes for X and for Y.  However, this requires the user to know the
       character  coding in use on the local system, and moreover, is not convenient if the collating sequence for the
       local alphabet differs from the ordering of the character codes.  Therefore, POSIX extended the  bracket  nota-
       tion greatly, both for wildcard patterns and for regular expressions.  In the above we saw three types of items
       that can occur in a bracket expression: namely (i) the negation, (ii) explicit  single  characters,  and  (iii)
       ranges.  POSIX specifies ranges in an internationally more useful way and adds three more types:

       (iii)  Ranges  X-Y  comprise  all  characters  that  fall  between X and Y (inclusive) in the current collating
       sequence as defined by the LC_COLLATE category in the current locale.

       (iv) Named character classes, like

       [:alnum:]  [:alpha:]  [:blank:]  [:cntrl:]
       [:digit:]  [:graph:]  [:lower:]  [:print:]
       [:punct:]  [:space:]  [:upper:]  [:xdigit:]

       so that one can say "[[:lower:]]" instead of "[a-z]", and have things work in Denmark,  too,  where  there  are
       three  letters  past  'z' in the alphabet.  These character classes are defined by the LC_CTYPE category in the
       current locale.

       (v) Collating symbols, like "[.ch.]" or "[.a-acute.]", where the string between "[." and ".]"  is  a  collating
       element defined for the current locale.  Note that this may be a multi-character element.

       (vi)  Equivalence class expressions, like "[=a=]", where the string between "[=" and "=]" is any collating ele-
       ment from its equivalence class, as defined for the current locale.  For example, "[[=a=]]" might be equivalent
       to "[a????]" (warning: Latin-1 here), that is, to "[a[.a-acute.][.a-grave.][.a-umlaut.][.a-circumflex.]]".

       sh(1), fnmatch(3), glob(3), locale(7), regex(7)

       This  page  is part of release 3.22 of the Linux man-pages project.  A description of the project, and informa-
       tion about reporting bugs, can be found at

Linux                             2003-08-24                           GLOB(7)