Sometimes a bunch of unwanted files end up somewhere they don't belong. Maybe a cp gone wrong, or other command line typo creates a slew of oddly named files -- but you've got a number of files you'd really like to keep around mixed in with the bad. The following should be able to handle things:
find /tmp/disasterpiece -type f -print0 | grep -zxvf SAVE_THESE | xargs -0 -L1 rm -v # or if you want to remove links and other non-directories find /tmp/disasterpiece ! -type d -print0 | grep -zxvf SAVE_THESE | xargs -0 -L1 unlink
The find will list all the normal files (not directories, etc), or in the second command's case all non-directories. That's passed to grep which has been given the following options:
- -z delimit lines based on nuls rather than the normal carriage returns
- -x only match if the pattern matches the whole line (e.g. foo doesn't match food)
- -v invert the selection (e.g. only print files that aren't in SAVE_THESE)
- -f read patterns out of the specified file
Without the -v SAVE_THESE becomes "REMOVE_THESE" which if you're nervous may be a better way to go given that this command pointed at the wrong location is going to find a lot of files that aren't in "SAVE_THESE".
Making SAVE_THESE is easy using the find command and editing the output:
find /tmp/disasterpiece -type f > SAVE_THESE # do a little clean up vim SAVE_THESE
Finally, by giving xargs the -0 option in the original command it will break things up on the nuls so that issues with unusual files name can be avoided, the -L1 sends only one file at a time to rm or unlink.
And this is what is should look like:
$ mkdir /tmp/disasterpiece $ cd /tmp/disasterpiece $ # going to use STDIN redirection to create 0 length files with odd names $ > '!!!'; > "line feed"; > "s p a c e d"; > '"quoted"'; > -opt; > --longopt; > '*'; > '???'; > $(echo -e "be\007ll"); > good_file; > not_bad $ ls -1 !!! ??? * be?ll good_file line?feed --longopt not_bad -opt "quoted" s p a c e d $ # question marks are due to unprintable characters, in this case a line feed (\n) and bell (\a) $ # to get a better idea of what these filenames actually are use -b $ ls -b1 !!! ??? * be\all good_file line\nfeed --longopt not_bad -opt "quoted" s\ p\ a\ c\ e\ d $ # time to make the list of good files $ cd /tmp/ $ find /tmp/disasterpiece -type f > SAVE_THESE $ # a little vi house cleaning, only going to keep good_file and not_bad $ # could have just as easily done $ # echo -e "/tmp/disasterpiece/good_file\n/tmp/disasterpiece/not_bad" > SAVE_THESE $ # for this simple case $ vim SAVE_THESE $ # could throw an echo in before the rm in the xargs section to get an idea $ # of the commands that will be issued $ # or give xargs the -p option so that it will prompt for each command $ find /tmp/foo -type f -print0 | grep -zxvf SAVE_THESE | xargs -0 -L1 rm -v removed ‘/tmp/disasterpiece/!!!’ removed ‘/tmp/disasterpiece/be\all’ removed ‘/tmp/disasterpiece/???’ removed ‘/tmp/disasterpiece/*’ removed ‘/tmp/disasterpiece/--longopt’ removed ‘/tmp/disasterpiece/-opt’ removed ‘/tmp/disasterpiece/"quoted"’ removed ‘/tmp/disasterpiece/s p a c e d’ removed ‘/tmp/disasterpiece/line\nfeed’ $ cd /tmp/disasterpiece $ ls -1 good_file not_bad