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



Deal with dot files safely

Terminal - Deal with dot files safely
rm -rf .??*
2011-03-11 07:21:58
User: greggster
Functions: rm
Deal with dot files safely

rm -rf .* matches ".." and thus one goes up a level and wipes out more than intended.

In bash, .??* safely accomplishes what one intends - remove those .files

The ? matches most characters except "/", thus .?? does not match ../ and so one is safe.


There are 2 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
rm -r .[!.]*
rm -rf .[!.]*

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

.??* does not match .a, .b, ...

.[!.]* does.

Comment by Natureshadow 271 weeks and 4 days ago

.??* does not match .a, .b, ...

.[!.]* does.

Comment by Natureshadow 271 weeks and 4 days ago

man bash discusses GLOBIGNORE which does this, but I can't wrap my head around the logic. GLOBIGNORE=.:.. seems to DTRT:

ls .* -d

. .. .keep

GLOBIGNORE=.:.. ls .* -d


Comment by hdhoang 271 weeks and 4 days ago

@greggster: gnu rm complains, but it won't allow me to remove ..

What version of rm do you have where .* can equate to ../*

@NatureShadow: very nice

Comment by flatcap 271 weeks and 3 days ago

The shell expands ".*" before its passed to the rm command. What shell are you using? echo $SHELL should display it.

Comment by greggster 271 weeks and 2 days ago

Your point of view

You must be signed in to comment.