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.

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



Psst. Open beta.

Wow, didn't really expect you to read this far down. The latest iteration of the site is in open beta. It's a gentle open beta-- not in prime-time just yet. It's being hosted over at UpGuard (link) and you are more than welcome to give it a shot. Couple things:

  • » The open beta is running a copy of the database that will not carry over to the final version. Don't post anything you don't mind losing.
  • » If you wish to use your user account, you will probably need to reset your password.
Your feedback is appreciated via the form on the beta page. Thanks! -Jon & CLFU Team

Selecting a random file/folder of a folder

Terminal - Selecting a random file/folder of a folder
shuf -n1 -e *
2011-03-23 03:52:56
User: seungwon
Selecting a random file/folder of a folder

I used only shuf command.


There are 10 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
ls -1 | shuf -n 1
2011-03-13 22:14:57
User: quincymd
Functions: ls
Tags: bash random

random file from files in directory

find . | shuf -n1
2011-04-01 22:57:01
Functions: find
Tags: bash random

Also looks in subfolders

a=(*); echo ${a[$((RANDOM % ${#a[@]}))]}
2011-03-18 13:24:52
User: putnamhill
Functions: echo
Tags: bash random

Here's a bash version using an array.

for i in *; do echo "$i"; done | shuf -n1
2011-03-17 17:48:42
User: johnraff
Functions: echo
Tags: bash random

Choose random file from current folder. Avoids using ls.

ls -1 | awk 'BEGIN{srand()} {x[NR] = $0} END{print "Selected", x[1 + int(rand() * NR)]}'
2011-03-13 20:05:06
User: saibbot
Functions: awk ls
Tags: awk random

I use this command to select a random movie from my movie collection..

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

Nice. Got to be the most concise so far.

Comment by quincymd 291 weeks and 5 days ago

Brilliant! I was doing: find . -maxdepth 1|sort -R|head -n1

much much better your way!

Comment by j_melis 291 weeks and 5 days ago

Wow! That's why they say to read the manual... Very nice.

Comment by johnraff 291 weeks and 4 days ago

Can someone explain to me why this is useful?

Any use case?

Comment by Neo23x0 291 weeks ago

This is a nice use of the "-e" but be careful that you know the max number of files in the directory. You can get a "Argument list too long" error with this one. The alternative #8090 works even with a large number of files:

ls|shuf -n1

and it's actually shorter if you remove the superfluous "-1" on the ls, as noted in the comments. I was surprised to find the version with the pipe was faster on my system starting at about 4000 files.

Comment by splante 250 weeks and 5 days ago

Your point of view

You must be signed in to comment.