June 21, 2024

Run a command on the output of a first command

$ find /home/user/ -mtime -3 -print -exec cp {} /media/username/usb-stick/ \;

will copy files created or modified within the last three days to the USB stick mounted.

The beginning of this command is the usual find command, with the option -mtime in this example.

We add the option -print so the shell shows what’s being copied.

Then comes -exec which runs the command cp, in this example, on the selected files. The curly brackets i.e. {} come along with usage of -exec and are replaced by the current file name being processed.

; tells -exec that it is the end of the command.

Backslash i.e. \ is just here to escaped ;.

Nota Bene: -exec executes the command on each find (not as a batch).

To learn more about the option -exec, run $ man find.

To learn more about the option -mtime, check out: https://yctct.com/find-mtime

The utility find was published in 1971 and is copyleft-licensed.

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