What's this?

commandlinefu.com is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again.

Delete that bloated snippets file you've been using and share your personal repository with the world. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

If you have a new feature suggestion or find a bug, please get in touch via http://commandlinefu.uservoice.com/

Get involved!

You can sign-in using OpenID credentials, or register a traditional username and password.

First-time OpenID users will be automatically assigned a username which can be changed after signing in.

Universal configuration monitoring and system of record for IT.

Stay in the loop…

Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.

» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu3
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu10

Subscribe to the feeds.

Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

Subscribe to the feed for:



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!

Top Tags





Commands using rm from sorted by
Terminal - Commands using rm - 261 results
find ~ -maxdepth 20 -type f -size -16M -print > t; for ((i=$(wc -l < t); i>0; i--)) do a=$(sed -n ${i}p < t); mv "$a" /dev/shm/d; mv /dev/shm/d "$a"; echo $i; done; echo DONE; rm t
2010-07-07 04:29:22
User: LinuxMan
Functions: echo find mv rm sed wc

Thanks to flatcap for optimizing this command.

This command takes advantage of the ext4 filesystem's resistance to fragmentation.

By using this command, files that were previously fragmented will be copied / deleted / pasted essentially giving the filesystem another chance at saving the file contiguously. ( unlike FAT / NTFS, the *nix filesystem always try to save a file without fragmenting it )

My command only effects the home directory and only those files with your R/W (read / write ) permissions.

There are two issues with this command:

1. it really won't help, it works, but linux doesn't suffer much (if any ) fragmentation and even fragmented files have fast I/O

2. it doesn't discriminate between fragmented and non-fragmented files, so a large ~/ directory with no fragments will take almost as long as an equally sized fragmented ~/ directory

The benefits i managed to work into the command:

1. it only defragments files under 16mb, because a large file with fragments isn't as noticeable as a small file that's fragmented, and copy/ delete/ paste of large files would take too long

2. it gives a nice countdown in the terminal so you know how far how much progress is being made and just like other defragmenters you can stop at any time ( use ctrl+c )

3. fast! i can defrag my ~/ directory in 11 seconds thanks to the ramdrive powering the command's temporary storage

bottom line:

1. its only an experiment, safe ( i've used it several times for testing ), but probably not very effective ( unless you somehow have a fragmentation problem on linux ). might be a placebo for recent windows converts looking for a defrag utility on linux and won't accept no for an answer

2. it's my first commandlinefu command

goburncd() { d=/tmp/goburncd_$RANDOM; mkdir $d && for i in *.[Mm][Pp]3; do lame --decode "$i" "$d/${i%%.*}.wav"; done; sudo cdrecord -pad $d/* && rm -r $d; eject }
2010-07-06 21:58:10
User: meathive
Functions: cdrecord eject mkdir rm sudo

My variation on an audio burning command from commandlinefu - this one doesn't crap out if you want to burn a CD in a directory whose permissions don't allow it, and instead rips everything to /tmp. If you mount your music partition like I do using Samba, you probably don't have write permission inside that file system in order to create the temporary directory other audio burning commands here use. Not a bad idea to add cdrom to your groups, and /bin/eject with visudo.

find . -name .svn -exec rm \-rf {} \;
bsro3 () { P=`pwd`; S=$1; R=$2; ls *.odt > /dev/null 2>&1; if [[ $? -ne 0 ]]; then exit 1; fi; for i in *.odt; do mkdir ${P}/T; cd ${P}/T; unzip -qq "$P"/"$i"; sed -i "s/$S/$R/" ${P}/T/content.xml; zip -qq -r "$P"/"$i" *; cd ${P}; rm -rf ${P}/T; done; }
2010-06-30 04:43:54
User: danpos
Functions: cd exit ls mkdir rm sed

This function does a batch edition of all OOO3 Writer files in current directory. It uses sed to search a FOO pattern into body text of each file, then replace it to foo pattern (only the first match) . I did it because I've some hundreds of OOO3 Writer files where I did need to edit one word in each ones and open up each file in OOO3 gui wasn't an option. Usage: bsro3 FOO foo

find ~/.thunderbird/*.default/ -name *.msf -exec rm -f {} \;
find ~/.thunderbird/*.default/ -name *.msf | sed 's/ /\\ /g' | xargs rm {} \;
2010-06-04 12:35:24
User: allrightname
Functions: find rm sed xargs

The thunderbird message datastores get corrupt some times causing random failures, compaction to fail and general suck in thunderbird. Removing them causes thunderbird to rebuild the indexes and makes things quick again.

rm-but() { ls -Q | grep -v "$1" | xargs rm -r ; }
2010-05-13 09:28:56
User: sata
Functions: grep ls rm xargs
rm-but() { ls -Q | grep -v "$1" | xargs rm -r ; }

Add this to your .bashrc file.

Then whenever you need to remove all files/directories but one from present working directory. Run:

rm-but <important-file-or-directory>


1. This doesn't affect the hidden files.

2. Argument is actually as string. And all files/directories having this string in there name are left untouched.

for dir in $(find -type d ! -name CVS); do for file in $(find $dir -maxdepth 1 -type f); do rm $file; cvs delete $file; done; done
2010-04-27 16:03:33
User: ubersoldat
Functions: cvs dir file find rm
Tags: bash cvs delete rm

This will search all directories and ignore the CVS ones. Then it will search all files in the resulting directories and act on them.

rm !(*.foo|*.bar|*.baz)
2010-04-13 15:13:54
User: hutch
Functions: rm

Deletes all files in a folder that are NOT *.foo, *.bar or *.baz files. Edit the pattern inside the brackets as you like.

{ rm -f file10 && nl > file10; } < file10
2010-04-08 21:08:23
User: zlemini
Functions: nl rm

Add permanent line numbers to a file without creating a temp file.

The rm command deletes file10 while the nl command works on the open file descriptor of file10 which it outputs into a new file again named file10.

The new file10 will now be numbered in the same directory with the same file name and content as before, but it will in fact be a new file, using (ls -i) to show its inode number will prove this.

ls | egrep -v "[REGULAR EXPRESSION]" | xargs rm -v
2010-04-01 02:40:40
User: Saxphile
Functions: egrep ls rm xargs
Tags: files rm

This is a slight variation of an existing submission, but uses regular expression to look for files instead. This makes it vastly more versatile, and one can easily verify the files to be kept by running ls | egrep "[REGULAR EXPRESSION]"

ls | while read filename; do tar -czvf "$filename".tar.gz "$filename"; rm "$filename"; done
2010-03-29 08:10:38
User: Thingymebob
Functions: ls read rm tar

Compresses each file individually, creating a $fileneame.tar.gz and removes the uncompressed version, usefull if you have lots of files and don't want 1 huge archive containing them all. you could replace ls with ls *.pdf to just perform the action on pdfs for example.

rm -rf /tmp/playlist.tmp && find ~/mp3 -name *.mp3 > /tmp/playlist.tmp && mplayer -playlist /tmp/playlist.tmp -shuffle -loop 0 | grep Playing
2010-03-23 21:33:44
User: hhanff
Functions: find grep rm

The command first deletes any old playlist calles playlist.tmp under /tmp. After that it recursively searches all direcotries under ~/mp3 and stores the result in /tmp/playlist.tmp. After havin created the playlist, the command will execute mplayer which will shuffle through the playlist.

This command is aliased to

m is aliased to `rm -rf /tmp/playlist.tmp && find ~/mp3 -name *.mp3 > /tmp/playlist.tmp && mplayer -playlist /tmp/playlist.tmp -shuffle -loop 0 | grep Playing'

in my ~/.bashrc.

( last ; ls -t /var/log/wtmp-2* | while read line ; do ( rm /tmp/wtmp-junk ; zcat $line 2>/dev/null || bzcat $line ) > /tmp/junk-wtmp ; last -f /tmp/junk-wtmp ; done ) | less
2010-03-16 04:17:16
Functions: last ls read rm zcat

When your wtmp files are being logrotated, here's an easy way to unpack them all on the fly to see more than a week in the past. The rm is the primitive way to prevent symlink prediction attack.

2end () ( export LC_ALL=C; nl -n rz $1 > $1.tmp; ${EDITOR:-vi} $1.tmp; sort $1.tmp | sed -r 's/^.*[0-9]+\t+//' > $1; rm $1.tmp; )
2010-03-06 23:02:28
User: bartonski
Functions: export nl rm sed sort

This function is used to sort selected lines of a text file to the end of that file. Especially useful in cases where human intervention is necessary to sort out parts of a file. Let's say that you have a text file which contains the words






For whatever reason, you want to sort all words rhyming with 'tough' to the bottom of the file, and all words denoting colors to the top, while keeping the order of the rest of the file intact.

'$EDITOR' will open, showing all of the lines in the given file, numbered with '0' padding. Adding a '~' to the beginning of the line will cause the line to sort to the end of the file, adding '!' will cause it to sort to the beginning.

wget -r --no-parent http://codeigniter.com/user_guide/ ; mv codeigniter.com/user_guide/* . ; rm -rf codeigniter.com
2010-03-01 02:37:26
Functions: mv rm wget

I constantly need to work on my local computer, thus I need a way to download the codeigniter user guide, this is the wget way I figured.

find . -name "*~" -exec rm {} \;
2010-02-26 10:54:02
User: ivanatora
Functions: find rm
Tags: vim find

Assuming only VIM has *~ files in your current dir. If you have usefull data in a file named in the *~ pattern, DO NOT RUN this command!

find -type d -name ".svn" -print0 | xargs -0 rm -rf
2010-02-25 10:16:18
User: tuxilicious
Functions: find rm xargs

man find: If no paths are given, the current directory is used. - Can anybody tell me why so many people are typing the dot?

find . -name .svn -exec rm -r {} +;
ls -RAx | grep "svn:$" | sed -e "s/svn:/svn/" | xargs rm -fr
rm -rf `find . -name .svn`
2010-02-23 08:35:06
User: jfcalvo
Functions: rm

Recursively remove .svn directories from the current location.

tar -zcvpf backup_`date +"%Y%m%d_%H%M%S"`.tar.gz `find <target> -atime +5 -type f` 2> /dev/null | parallel -X rm -f
2010-01-28 12:41:41
Functions: rm tar

This deals nicely with files having special characters in the file name (space ' or ").

Parallel is from https://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/parallel/

find . -maxdepth 1 -type d -exec 'mv "{}" "{}-old" && svnadmin create "{}" && svnadmin recover "{}-old" && svnadmin dump "{}-old" | svnadmin load "{}" && rm -rf "{}-old"' \;
removedir(){ read -p "Delete the current directory $PWD ? " human;if [ "$human" = "yes" ]; then [ -z "${PWD##*/}" ] && { echo "$PWD not set" >&2;return 1;}; rm -Rf ../"${PWD##*/}"/ && cd ..; else echo "I'm watching you" | pv -qL 10; fi; }
removedir () { echo "Deleting the current directory $PWD Are you sure?"; read human; if [[ "$human" = "yes" ]]; then blah=$(echo "$PWD" | sed 's/ /\\ /g'); foo=$(basename "$blah"); rm -Rf ../$foo/ && cd ..; else echo "I'm watching you" | pv -qL 10; fi; }
2010-01-17 11:34:38
User: oshazard
Functions: basename cd echo read rm sed


Version 1.1

removedir () { echo "You are about to delete the current directory $PWD Are you sure?"; read human; if [[ "$human" = "yes" ]]; then blah=$(echo "$PWD" | sed 's/ /\\ /g'); foo=$(basename "$blah"); rm -Rf ../$foo/ && cd ..; else echo "I'm watching you" | pv -qL 10; fi; }


Folders with spaces

Version 1.0

removedir () { echo "You are about to delete the current directory $PWD Are you sure?"; read human; if [[ "$human" = "yes" ]]; then blah=`basename $PWD`; rm -Rf ../$blah/ && cd ..; else echo "I'm watching you" | pv -qL 10; fi; }


Hidden directories (.dotdirectory)

Version 0.9

rmdir () { echo "You are about to delete the current directory $PWD. Are you sure?"; read human; if [[ "$human" = "yes" ]]; then blah=`basename $PWD`; rm -Rf ../$blah/ && cd ..; else echo "I'm watching you" | pv -qL 10; fi; }

Removes current directory with recursive and force flags plus basic human check. When prompted type yes

1. [user@host ~]$ ls

foo bar

2. [user@host ~]$ cd foo

3. [user@host foo]$ removedir

4. yes

5. rm -Rf foo/

6. [user@host ~]$

7. [user@host ~]$ ls