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[bug #22832] Problems with "find --help" doc and with "find" functionali

From: James Youngman
Subject: [bug #22832] Problems with "find --help" doc and with "find" functionality
Date: Sat, 05 Apr 2008 10:05:49 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20080311 Iceweasel/ (Debian-

Follow-up Comment #1, bug #22832 (project findutils):

Unix tools have never used the "tool ?" syntax, since it's essentially
inconvenient; "?" is a shell wildcard:

$ echo ?
c X

To pass a literal ? reliably to a program, it would need to be escaped:

$ echo '?' ; echo ?

The fact that the shell expands wildcards and that thus invoked programs
never see the wildcard is an important fact about the Unix command line, and
understanding it is key to becoming an effective Unix user.  

You are right that "find --help" does not teach you how to use the find
program.  For that, you should read the online info documentation with "info
find".    In between there is the manual page, which is a reference but not a

Almost all programs on Unix like systems have a manual page.  To get started
with using the online manual type "man intro".  To browse the Texinfo online
tutorial information just type "info".       The "info find" command takes you
directly to the findutils manual.

<< Then comes a kick in the face.  "find" ignores the
 old Unix principle "no news is good news" (where if
 you want to see incidental information you give a
 "verbose" switch) and vomits out every path it
 searches onto the screen. Yucch. >>

That's not what is happening.  The find program prints all the files which
match the criteria you specified.  If you specify no criteria with which to
narrow down the search, then all files will match your criteria and are
therefore printed for you.

<< My pwd is /home/dz/ and I say find /home/dz/ foo.bar
 All the paths in /home/dz/ vomit to the screen, but
    find: foo.bar: No such file or directory >>

You've misunderstood how find works, though.  Please read the documentation.


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