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May 19, 2015 - A Look At The New Commandlinefu
I've put together a short writeup on what kind of newness you can expect from the next iteration of clfu. Check it out here.
March 2, 2015 - New Management
I'm Jon, I'll be maintaining and improving clfu. Thanks to David for building such a great resource!

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Commands using diff from sorted by
Terminal - Commands using diff - 104 results
SUBNET="192.168.41" ; diff -y <(nmap -sP -n ${SUBNET}.0/24 | grep ${SUBNET}. | awk '{print $5}' | sort -t"." -k4 -n) <(for i in $(seq 1 254); do echo ${SUBNET}.$i; done)
2012-08-28 09:11:18
User: michel_p
Functions: awk diff echo grep seq sort

The command will make it easy to determine free IP ranges in a crowded sub-net.

git diff -U10|dwdiff --diff-input -c|less -R
git diff -U10 |wdiff --diff-input -a -n -w $'\e[1;91m' -x $'\e[0m' -y $'\e[1;94m' -z $'\e[0m' |less -R
2012-08-15 01:42:16
Functions: diff less

I've been using colordiff for years. wdiff is the new fav, except its colors. Word delimited diffs are more interleaved, easing the chore of associating big blocks of changes.

diff <(ssh [email protected] cat /path/to/remotefile) /path/to/localfile
git diff | git apply --reverse
while true; do iptables -nvL > /tmp/now; diff -U0 /tmp/prev /tmp/now > /tmp/diff; clear; cat /tmp/diff; mv /tmp/now /tmp/prev; slee p 1; done
2012-04-15 00:02:33
Functions: cat diff iptables mv

this alternative shows the differences as they occur so that they are made plain

diff -Naur /source/path /target/path --brief | awk '{print "cp " $2 " " $4}' | sh
2012-04-13 12:07:20
Functions: awk diff

I use this a lot to sync changes between folders that don't share a SVN or GIT repository. If you want to preview the command before executing, just leave out the last part ("| sh")

cvs -q diff --brief | grep file | cut -d/ -f3- | cut -d',' -f1
git diff --color-words file1 file2
diff -dbByw $COLUMNS FILE1 FILE2
2012-02-28 03:19:20
User: DewiMorgan
Functions: diff
Tags: diff compare

The normal output of 'diff' is a wonderful thing. But just sometimes, you want something that is a little more... well... readable.

This is that command.

-d - (optional) find the minimal set of changes

-b - (optional) ignore changes in the amount of whitespace

-B - (optional) ignore changes that just insert or delete blank lines

-y - this is where the magic happens! Use the side-by-side output format.

-w $COLUMNS - more magic! Instead of using 80 columns, use the current width of the terminal.

for i in $(ps -eo pid,pmem,pcpu| sort -k 3 -r|grep -v PID|head -10|awk '{print $1}');do diff -yw <(pidstat -p $i|grep -v Linux) <(ps -o euser,pri,psr,pmem,stat -p $i|tail);done
2012-02-16 20:54:32
Functions: awk diff grep head ps sort

It grabs the PID's top resource users with $(ps -eo pid,pmem,pcpu| sort -k 3 -r|grep -v PID|head -10)

The sort -k is sorting by the third field which would be CPU. Change this to 2 and it will sort accordingly.

The rest of the command is just using diff to display the output of 2 commands side-by-side (-y flag) I chose some good ones for ps.

pidstat comes with the sysstat package(sar, mpstat, iostat, pidstat) so if you don't have it, you should.

I might should take off the timestamp... :|

diff --suppress-common-lines -y <(cd path_to_dir1; find .|sort) <(cd path_to_dir2; find .|sort)
2012-02-13 12:49:33
User: knoppix5
Functions: cd diff find

Output of this command is the difference of recursive file lists in two directories (very quick!).

To view differences in content of files too, use the command submitted by mariusbutuc (very slow!):

diff -rq path_to_dir1 path_to_dir2
svn diff --diff-cmd='meld' -r 100:BASE FILE
diff -y <(ssh [email protected] find /boot|sort) <(find /boot|sort)
2012-01-31 15:04:30
User: knoppix5
Functions: diff find ssh

You can compare directories on two different remote hosts as well:

diff -y <(ssh [email protected] find /boot|sort) <(ssh [email protected] find /boot|sort)

To avoid password-prompt on remote host just generate the rsa key locally and copy it to remote host:

ssh-keygen -t rsa


ssh [email protected] "mkdir .ssh"


scp .ssh/id_rsa.pub [email protected]:; .ssh/authorized_keys2
diff <(exiftool img_1.jpg) <(exiftool img_2.jpg)
2012-01-30 22:01:17
User: fpunktk
Functions: diff

I've been looking for this for a long time. Does anybody know how to do this in dash (POSIX shell)?

An alternative version might be:

exiftool img_1.jpg | diff - <(exiftool img_2.jpg)
svn diff <FILE>
2012-01-30 16:47:48
User: bbbco
Functions: diff
Tags: svn diff

If you have ever edited a locally checked out version of a file to tweak it for testing purposes, and came back to it over a weekend, you might have forgotten what you exactly changed. This command helps you see the differences between the the checked in SVN version, and the one you tweaked.

diff -U99999 original.css modified.css | awk '/^-/{next} {f=f"\n"$0} /^\+.*[^ ]/{yes=1} /}/ {if(yes){print f} f="";yes=0}'
2012-01-12 07:57:22
User: unhammer
Functions: awk diff

This will extract the differing CSS entries of two files. I've left the initial character (plus or space) in output to show the real differing line, remove the initial character to get a working CSS file. The output CSS file is usable by either adding it in a below the to original.css, or by only using the output but adding @import url("original.css"); in the beginning.

This is very useful for converting Wordpress theme copies into real Wordpress child themes.

Could exclude common lines within entries too, I guess, but that might not be worth the complexity.

for f in $(ls -A ./dir); do echo -n $f && diff original.txt ./dir/$f | wc -l ; done | perl -ne 'my $h={}; while (<>) { chomp; if (/^(\S+?)\s*(\d+?)$/){$h->{$1}=$2;} }; for my $k (sort { $h->{$a} $h->{$b} } keys %$h ){ print "$k\t$h->{$k}\n"}'
diff -ru originDir updateDir > result.patch
diff -r -u originDir updateDir > result.patch
diffxml() { diff -wb <(xmllint --format "$1") <(xmllint --format "$2"); }
2011-10-06 07:36:13
User: sharfah
Functions: diff
Tags: diff xml xmllint

Diffs two xml files by formatting them first using xmllint and then invoking diff.

Usage: diffxml XMLFile1 XMLFile2

diff -U 9999 file_a file_b | tail -n +3 | grep -P "^(\ Header|\-|\+)"
2011-09-21 21:33:40
User: nnutter
Functions: diff grep tail
Tags: diff

Maybe very limited in its applicability but could be of use at times.

LC_ALL=C diff -q dir1 dir2 | grep differ | awk '{ print $2, $4 }' | xargs -n 2 gvim --nofork -d
2011-09-06 11:50:33
User: brock
Functions: awk diff grep xargs

LC_ALL=C is here to always grep on "differ" whatever your language env.

xargs -n 2 to run gvim -d with 2 arguments

gvim --nofork to use only one instance of gvim

diff rpm_output_from_other_computer <(rpm -qa|sort)
2011-06-25 11:45:15
User: xeor
Functions: diff rpm

Description is moved to "Sample output" because the html sanitizer for commandlinefu breaks the examples..