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Say I wanted to copy the .ssh/authorized_keys file in each user's /home directory to /tmp (for whatever reason). I figured I could use globbing and brace expansion to do this quickly, but I ran into trouble. I tried using something like key_for_{*} to get a different file name for each user. My thought was that I could copy everything like this,

sudo cp */.ssh/authorized_keys /tmp/key_for_{*}

I expected /tmp to have files like /tmp/key_for_alice, /tmp/key_for_james, &c... but that's not what happened.

Googling about I found plenty of examples of brace expansion but none that addressed this question. Is there something I should know?


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

That's not brace expansion. That's just... an asterisk inside braces. You'll need to use a for loop for this.

for user in *
  cp "$user"/.ssh/authorized_keys /tmp/key_for_"$user"
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ha ha ha OK thanks! – Ziggy Jul 4 '11 at 20:43

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