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Re: find / -iregex not working as expected

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: find / -iregex not working as expected
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2015 10:07:26 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/38.3.0

On 11/12/2015 08:41 AM, Michael Convey wrote:
> I'm trying to find the following files with a single 'find' statement:
> /var/lib/postgresql/9.4/main/postgresql.auto.conf
> /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d/postgresql.conf
> /etc/postgresql/9.4/main/postgresql.conf
> I tried the following (and more), but I can't figure it out:
> find / -iregex "*postgresql.*.conf"

This says find all files that match the case-insensitive regular
expression "*postgresql.*.conf".  A regex of ".*." is identical to a
regex of ".+" (1 or more arbitrary characters), and NOT the same as a
regular expression for a literal '.'.  A leading "*" in a regular
expression is unspecified behavior, but many regex engines treat it
identically to a regex of "\*" (matching only a literal '*').  As your
desired filenames do not start with a literal star, the regex won't
match them.

> find / -iregex "*/postgresql*.conf"

Still a literal star issue.

> find / -iregex *postgresql*.conf

Here, you lack shell quoting, so your shell tries to glob the '*' before
even passing the argument to find.  Generally not what you want.

> find / -iregex '*postgresql.*.conf'

This is no different than your first attempt (changing between '' and ""
shell quoting doesn't affect the string seen by find).

What you probably want is to use '-iname', not '-regex', for a
case-insensitive glob comparison.  As in:

find / -iname 'postgresql.*conf'

Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org

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