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If I am in a directory called /usr/share/tcl8.3/encoding, what command would copy all files begining "cp" that also contain an even number (from the following list):

cp1250.enc  cp1255.enc  cp737.enc  cp857.enc  cp864.enc  cp932.enc
cp1251.enc  cp1256.enc  cp775.enc  cp860.enc  cp865.enc  cp936.enc
cp1252.enc  cp1257.enc  cp850.enc  cp861.enc  cp866.enc  cp949.enc
cp1253.enc  cp1258.enc  cp852.enc  cp862.enc  cp869.enc  cp950.enc
cp1254.enc  cp437.enc   cp855.enc  cp863.enc  cp874.enc
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Have you tried this?

cp cp*[24680].enc destination
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cp*[24680].* for mixed extensions – Rob Jun 5 '12 at 16:51
SOLVED: This works. Thank you so much! – user98496 Jun 5 '12 at 18:11

Try: cp cp*[02468]* /path/to/dest/

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Thanks. I was originally inclined to do that command too, but it also captures numbers that aren't even (ie: cp1251.enc). I should only be captureing cp files followed by a number that can be divided evenly. Any other suggestions? – user98496 Jun 5 '12 at 15:34
cp cp*[02468].* should work if the extensions aren't all the same. – Rob Jun 5 '12 at 16:51
I'd argue that cp1251.enc "contains" an even number, per the wording of the original question, but that's neither here nor there...looks like others have tweaked this to do what you want. – mboldt Jun 5 '12 at 20:25
Hey mbolt. Yes,you are correct. Definitely my bad on the original delivery of the question. I'm thankful though for everyone's thoughtful input toward my quest for an answer :-) – user98496 Jun 6 '12 at 3:20
What does this do? Why trust a command if you don't know what it does. – Tom Wijsman Jun 11 '12 at 18:30


find . -maxdepth 1 | grep -P "/cp\d*[02468]\.enc$" | xargs -I '{}' cp '{}' destination

How it works

  • find . -maxdepth 1 non-recursively (-maxdepth 1) lists all files in the current directory (.)

  • grep -P "..." matches each line against the regular expression ...

    • / and \.enc are the strings / and .enc.

    • \d* is any number of digits.

    • [02468] is exactly one even digit.

    • $ signals the end of a line.

  • xargs -I '{}' cp '{}' destination executes the command

    cp '{}' destination

    where '{}' gets substituted by each line piped from the previous command.

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