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9.4 Use Wildcards to Create Files?

The shells' [] (square bracket) wildcards will match a range of files. For instance, if you have files named afile , bfile , cfile , and dfile , you can print the first three by typing:

% 

lpr [a-c]file

Now, let's say that you want to create some more files called efile , ffile , gfile , and hfile . What's wrong with typing the command line below? Try it. Instead of vi , you can use your favorite editor or the touch ( 21.7 ) command:

% 

vi [e-h]file

   
Doesn't make those four files

% 

ls


afile   bfile   cfile   dfile

Stumped? Take a look at article 1.16 about wildcard matching.

The answer: wildcards can't match names that don't exist yet. That's especially true with a command like touch ?file ( 21.7 ) or touch *file -think how many filenames those wildcards could possibly create!

Article 9.5 explains shell { } operators that solve this problem.

- JP


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