home | O'Reilly's CD bookshelfs | FreeBSD | Linux | Cisco | Cisco Exam  

Unix Power ToolsUnix Power ToolsSearch this book

8.11. Can't Access a File? Look for Spaces in the Name

What's wrong here?

% ls
afile    exefiles   j       toobig
% lpr afile
lpr: afile: No such file or directory

Huh? ls shows that the file is there, doesn't it? Try using:

-v Section 12.4, -t -e Section 1125

% ls -l | cat -v -t -e
total 89$
-rw-rw-rw-  1 jerry          28 Mar  7 19:46 afile $
-rw-r--r--  1 root        25179 Mar  4 20:34 exefiles$
-rw-rw-rw-  1 jerry         794 Mar  7 14:23 j$
-rw-r--r--  1 root          100 Mar  5 18:24 toobig$

The cat -e option marks the ends of lines with a $. Notice that afile has a $ out past the end of the column. Aha . . . the filename ends with a space. Whitespace characters like TABs have the same problem, though the default ls -q (Section 8.12) option (on many Unix versions) shows them as ? if you're using a terminal.

If you have the GNU version of ls, try its -Q option to put double quotes around each name:

$ ls -Q
"afile "  "exefiles"  "j"  "toobig"

To rename afile, giving it a name without the space, type:

% mv "afile " afile

The quotes (Section 27.12) tell the shell to include the space as part of the first argument it passes to mv. The same quoting works for other Unix commands as well, such as rm.

-- JP

Library Navigation Links

Copyright © 2003 O'Reilly & Associates. All rights reserved.