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Some ways of finding files (or content within files) in Linux.

See AboutThesePages.




Find sounds most familiar, but I am always confused by the syntax.

Example: find -iname <pattern>


Locate has the simplest syntax, and is usually the fastest, but depends on a database. If the database does not exist, or is not up-to-date, the search will be unsuccessful. Many distros issue the command to update the database (updatedb) as a cron job. I usually find once a day too often, and change the update frequency to once a week. (I don't know whether there is a way to limit the scope of what is included in the database -- this could make me feel better about more frequent updates. Does updatedb only update the locate (or slocate) database? (slocate is a more secure version of locate, used on many distros, but I think locate is often set up as an alias for slocate -- would someone say "locate is aliased to slocate", or the other way around, "slocate is aliased to locate" -- the second sounds more "appropriate" to me.

Example: locate <pattern?>


AFAIK, a GUI for find.


Grep is a tool that searches text rather than specifically for file names. However, by catting a directory to a file, or by piping a directory to grep, you can search for a filename.

Example: This is not correct: grep <string> | ls

<Currently, no significant content below this line.>


See ResourceRecommendations. Feel free to add additional resources to these lists, but please follow the guidelines on ResourceRecommendations including ResourceRecommendations#Guidelines_for_Rating_Resources.


  • (rhk) [[][]] --

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  • () RandyKramer - 23 Jul 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

[[Main.RandyKramer#23 Jul 2002][]]

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Topic revision: r1 - 2002-07-23 - RandyKramer
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