Terminate a find after the first match is found.

/bin/sh -c 'find . -name FILENAME -print -exec kill $$ \;'
If you know that you want only the first match from a 'find' command, this will terminate the find as soon as a match is found. Recent versions of GNU find have the -quit parameter, which does the same thing as this, so this is only useful if you are stuck with an older version of find. or need to write a backward portable script. I can't take credit for this - I saw it on a chat room where I work and thought it was useful, so am sharing it here both for others, and in case I want to remember it in the future.
Sample Output
$ /bin/sh -c 'find . -name SomeRandomFile.java -print -exec kill $$ \;'

2011-07-20 16:51:18

What Others Think

You know, piping the find output through `head -1` will automatically send a SIGPIPE to the find instance once head terminates, effectively killing find after the first match. find . -name <FILENAME> |head -1
h3xx · 537 weeks and 1 day ago
To use `head -1` is not right. Only some kind of pipe input buffer is filled, the process on the right hand of the pipe will receive the input data, and a first line of output from the left hand process is obviously not enough to fill the buffer.
gfdice · 417 weeks and 3 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

You must be signed in to comment.

What's this?

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

Share Your Commands

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: