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Old 10-21-2012, 11:04 AM   #1
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How to use the find command properly

I can't figure out how to use the find command properly.
I'm not a great interpreter of the man manuals.
The best I could come up with to search the /usr directory
find /usr games -print
I'm looking for games in the /usr directory.
As we all know, there is a directory /usr/games so find
should find something. But it does not. It reports:
find 'games': no such file or directory
So find is not working correctly.
I must be giving it the wrong kind of instructions.
How do I get find to work correctly ?
I need some examples.
Old 10-21-2012, 11:07 AM   #2
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The first argument(s) to find are the directories in which to search. Everything else, including the name of the file/dir you're searching for, needs flags.

find /usr -name games
You can throw a "-type d" if you want to limit the results to just directories. "-print" is the default behavior, so you can leave it off. You can also add a "-maxdepth 1" if you want to disable recursive searching:

find /usr -maxdepth 1 -type d -name games

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 10-21-2012 at 11:13 AM.
Old 10-21-2012, 09:31 PM   #3
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If the find command finds any games directory the code below will list the files in the game directory.

find /usr -type d -iname games -exec ls {}  2> /dev/null \;
In case you run this code as a regular user you may get permission denied errors. The 2> /dev/null suppresses that from echoing on the screen.

Last edited by linux_BSD; 10-21-2012 at 09:33 PM.
Old 10-22-2012, 12:16 AM   #4
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Following is generalized syntax of find:
find <where-to-search> <what's criteria of search> <item name or criteria's value> <action>
Let's say if you want to search a "file" in /usr, then you can do:
find /usr -name "games" -tpye f -print
If games is a directory, then,
find /usr -name "games" -type d -print
Or to list out files in games in detailed manner:
find /usr -name "games" -type d -exec ls -la {} \;
And so on...
Once you'll used to find command, then I think you will need not to read full man page, but simply go through the available options (i.e. f for file, d for dir), search criterias (i.e. -type, -name, -perm, -mtime etc), action (i.e. -print, -exec etc.) and {} \; syntax.
Howp it will help you.

Last edited by shivaa; 10-22-2012 at 12:21 AM.
Old 10-22-2012, 10:58 AM   #5
Registered: Jan 2008
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How to use the find command properly

Thank you for all your assistance. I also found
the linuxquestions tutorial on find. This is
all very good. I think this thread is solved.


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