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when I perform

  find /tmp  -name something 

find command not find the something word under /tmp

  echo $?

  I get $?=0

it's OK

but how to enable Exit status diff then 0 when find command not find the something word?

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Please don't cross-post. – Dennis Williamson Jan 23 '11 at 17:14
up vote 1 down vote accepted

find returns 0 if it runs successfully and non-zero if there are errors. It does not set the exit code based on whether anything was found. You will need to do something like this:

files=$(find /tmp  -name something)
if [[ -n "$files" ]]
    echo "files were found"

It's more likely, however, that you want to do something with the filenames. You can process them in a loop:

find /tmp  -name something | while read -r filename
    echo "found: $filename


while read -r filename
    echo "found: $filename
done < <(find /tmp  -name something)

If nothing is found then the loop will exit without doing anything.

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I feel that this is the most concise and direct method:

test "`find /tmp/ -name something -print -quit 2>/dev/null`"
share|improve this answer
This will only work if there's not more than a single match. Double quotes around the backticks should overcome this. – Dennis Feb 6 '13 at 19:16
Indeed. Fixed. Thanks! – danorton Feb 7 '13 at 18:02
Also, I accidentally omitted -print -quit. – danorton Feb 7 '13 at 18:19

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