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Bash - File test operators

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Wednesday, 10 August 2011 15:09
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Bash file test operators reference card

Bash File test operators

Bash has many operators that you can use to test different aspects of a file. For example, you can use the -e operator to ensure that a file exists before deleting it. Or, you can check that a file can be written to before appending to it.

By checking the feasibility of the impending file operation, you can reduce the number of errors that your program will encounter. A complete list of the operators used to test files is given in the reference card below : 

 

OperatorTests Whether
-e File exists
-s File is not zero size
-a 

file exists 

This is identical in effect to -e. It has been "deprecated," and its use is discouraged.

-f File is a regular file (not a directory or device file)
-d File is a directory
-r File has read permission (for the user running the test)
-h File is a symbolic link
-w File has write permission (for the user running the test)
-L File is a symbolic link
-x File has execute permission (for the user running the test)
-b File is a block device
-c File is a character device
-g set-group-id (sgid) flag set on file or directory

If a directory has the sgid flag set, then a file created within that directory belongs to the group that owns the directory, not necessarily to the group of the user who created the file. This may be useful for a directory shared by a workgroup.
-p File is a pipe
-u suid flag set
-S File is a socket
-k "sticky bit" set
-t File is associated with a terminal

This test option may be used to check whether the stdin [ -t 0 ] or stdout [ -t 1 ] in a given script is a terminal. 

-N File modified since it was last read
F1 -nt F2 File F1 is newer than F2 *
-O You own the file
F1 -ot F2 File F1 is older than F2 *
-G Group id of file same as yours
F1 -ef F2 Files F1 and F2 are hard links to the same file *
! NOT (inverts sense of above tests)

* Binary operator (requires two operands).

On the same subject you can consule the article about the Bash Special Variables

If you have any remark or questions feel free to put a comment.

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Tags: test, read, file, operators, flag, device, bash, permission, link, symbolic

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