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Old 09-10-2014, 08:29 AM   #1
Oisin
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Dublin Ireland
Distribution: Ubuntu
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locate command appears not to work


Hi,

I was testing out the locate command for finding things. If I type:
locate <randomShortString>
it will generally return multiple hits as there are some dir or filename which happen to include <randomShortString>
when I tried to use it to find files that I had created myself it failed
I had created files indep.npz and indep.txt yesterday and when I type
locate indep
It returns nothing. So I though maybe the db had not been updated so I manually issued the command:
sudo updatedb
but locate indep still returns nothing despite the files clearly being present. So, can anyone explain this ?
On a related note the man page for updatedb lists the EXIT_STATUS of updatedb as 0 on success, 1 on error.
How do I determine the EXIT_STATUS for a call to a command ? It clearly isn't being sent to stdout as I'm seeing neither 0 nor 1 when I call updatedb. Seeing the exit status might allow me to figure out if it is the updatedb or the locate that is not behaving as expected.

Thanks,

Oisin.
 
Old 09-10-2014, 08:39 AM   #2
keefaz
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To see the exit status of any command in shell, just after it terminates, use:
Code:
echo $?
Not sure why locate doesn't find your files after you updated the db... Are you sure of the file names?
 
Old 09-10-2014, 08:56 AM   #3
Oisin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keefaz View Post
To see the exit status of any command in shell, just after it terminates, use:
Code:
echo $?
Not sure why locate doesn't find your files after you updated the db... Are you sure of the file names?
Okay so the EXIT_STATUS of the updatedb is 0 indicating success, but the locate command still fails to find my files. The EXIT_STATUS of the call to locate is 1 which could indicate no matches or an error. So it seems that it is the locate command that is at fault but I cant figure out why. I am using Ubuntu and the files in question are in my home directory. When installing Ubuntu I did specify that my home dir should be encrypted, could this be the source of the problem ?

Thanks,

Oisin.
 
Old 09-10-2014, 08:59 AM   #4
pan64
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you can check the man page of locate and updatedb to see how they are working. Especially updatedb -v will print the files it found. and also you can check the config file.
 
Old 09-10-2014, 09:53 AM   #5
Oisin
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I've had a look at the man pages for locate and updatedb and I can't see anything that would explain why locate isn't finding my files for example:

oisin@oisin-MXC051:~$ pwd
/home/oisin
oisin@oisin-MXC051:~$ locate oisin
/home/oisin
/var/lib/AccountsService/users/oisin
/var/tmp/audacity-oisin
oisin@oisin-MXC051:~$ tree
.
├── Desktop
├── Downloads
│** ├── audacity-minsrc-2.0.5.tar.xz
│** ├── test.mp4
│** └── Water_Butt_1.mp4
├── examples.desktop
├── indep.jpg
├── indep.npz
├── Music
├── Pictures
│** └── 1410106810515.jpg
├── Public
├── Templates
├── tmp
│** ├── 1.txt
│** ├── indep
│** ├── indep.txt
│** ├── ipFile
│** ├── ls
│** ├── mlocate.db
│** ├── new1
│** ├── nua
│** │** └── fileNua.txt
│** ├── opFile
│** ├── seal
│** └── seal.txt
└── Videos

12 directories, 15 files
oisin@oisin-MXC051:~$

My user dir is /home/oisin and the tree command shows clearly that it contains many files and subdirs (most of which have existed since Linux was installed) yet the locate command only returns one result: '/home/oisin' when clearly it should also contain an entry for each of the objects below /home/oisin

Anyone have any ideas why this is happenning? At the moment all I can thing is that it has something to do with the fact that I specified that my home dir should be encrypted when installing Linux but neither locate nor updatedb mentions having any problems with encrypted dirs.
 
Old 09-10-2014, 10:38 AM   #6
cepheus11
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There might be directories/filesystems to be excluded in updatedb's configuration. Locations like /media or /run/media are often excluded by default, as are filesystems usually used on removable media (like UDF). Check if this is the case for you

If locate can find other files in the same directory, then the cause must be different.
 
Old 09-10-2014, 10:41 AM   #7
keefaz
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Maybe check /etc/updatedb.conf, as pan64 and cepheus11 suggested
 
Old 09-10-2014, 11:50 AM   #8
Oisin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keefaz View Post
Maybe check /etc/updatedb.conf, as pan64 and cepheus11 suggested
Indeed, I didn't know where to find updatedb.conf but upon inspecting it I see:

PRUNEPATHS="/tmp /var/spool /media /home/.ecryptfs"

So it seems that my home dir is effectively invisible to the locate command because the dir is encrypted, this dramatically reduces the utility of the locate command, I wonder if find and grep suffer the same fate ?

Thanks,

Oisín.
 
Old 09-10-2014, 12:06 PM   #9
cepheus11
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A decrypted view of your home directory must be mounted somewhere while you work with it. You have to trigger updatedb to read that location, not the encrypted /home/.ecryptfs. I bet it is mounted as tmpfs filesystem, or as "fuse.<something>". Something which is ignored by updatedb because of PRUNEFS setting.

What does the command return:

Code:
mount
?
 
Old 09-10-2014, 12:33 PM   #10
keefaz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oisin View Post
Indeed, I didn't know where to find updatedb.conf but upon inspecting it I see:

PRUNEPATHS="/tmp /var/spool /media /home/.ecryptfs"

So it seems that my home dir is effectively invisible to the locate command because the dir is encrypted, this dramatically reduces the utility of the locate command, I wonder if find and grep suffer the same fate ?

Thanks,

Oisín.
You can always remove /home/.ecryptfs from PRUNEPATHS in updatedb.conf, save it, then updatedb and try locate a file in your home directory
find and grep don't use /etc/updatedb.conf
 
  


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