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I am trying to get the usage-percentage for a given disk in a system. The program I have to write will be a bash shell script. The script has to work on Debian, Arch, and Mac OS X.

My current approach is to do a df and grep for the usage percentage. The problem is that the output of df differs on these systems. I want to avoid if os==Arch elseif os == Debian…as far as possible.

Is there a solution which avoids distinguishing the OS?

Example output for each operating system / version of df:


Filesystem    512-blocks       Used Available Capacity   iused    ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk2     179032136  106162416  72357720    60%  13334300  9044715   72%   /


Filesystem    1K-blocks  Used     Available  %used Mounted on
/dev/hdv1       20480000 8423436  11016564   44%   /


Filesystem     1K-blocks   Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/root        5160576 813420   4085012  17% /

So Arch and Debian are pretty the same. It may also be a problem that the labels are maybe printed in different languages.

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Could you post the df output on the different OSs so we can compare please? – terdon Apr 4 '13 at 10:53
Edited the post to show some examples. – k_wave Apr 4 '13 at 11:52
It isn't so much the OS but the source of the df utility. Most (all?) linux & BSD distributions use df from the GNU coreutils package. Mac OS X doesn't. OS X was originally built from a BSD-like interface onto its kernel but the utilities don't track closely with the GNU versions. – Doug Harris Apr 5 '13 at 14:28
up vote 0 down vote accepted

This should work for all three df outputs:

df | awk '/\//{print $1,$(NF-1)}'

This is the output on each of the examples you posted:

/dev/disk2 72%
/dev/hdv1 44%
/dev/root 17%


The awk command looks for lines that contain a / (so, ignores the headers) and prints the first ($1) and penultimate ($(NF-1)) fields. If you want only the usage percentage, do this:

df | awk '/\//{print $(NF-1)}'


My answer above will give you the %iused field on the Mac df output. If you want the Capacity instead, do this (works on all three again):

df | perl -ne '/\// && do {/(.+?)\s.+?(\d+%)/ && print "$1 $2\n"}'

which also prints the first field (the non-greedy (.+?), terminated by \s) and the first percentage number ((\d+%), preceded by the non-greedy .+?).

share|improve this answer
This does not work for the mac example, as the first number with % suffix is the capacity – k_wave Apr 5 '13 at 13:46
@kwave, that makes no difference. I am not using the % character anywhere. What I am doing is printing the next to last field which is always the percentage used. Did you try it? It works as advertised with the Mac output you have posted. – terdon Apr 5 '13 at 13:57
Hang on, in the Mac do you want the capacity or the inodes% ? Is that number ever different? Anyway, see my updated answer if you want the capacity and not the inodes. – terdon Apr 5 '13 at 14:15

A slightly messier but probably more universal solution is

df | sed -n 's/^\([^ ]*\) .*[^0-9]\([0-9]*%\).*/\1 \2/p'

which displays the first “word” on the line (the filesystem device name) and then looks for a sequence of digits followed by a %.  Specifically, it looks for the last such string.

[Oops: it will also display a mangled subset of the header (i.e., the first line, with the column headings).]


df | sed -n 's/^\([^ ]*\) .*[^0-9]\([0-9][0-9]*%\).*/\1 \2/p'

fixes the glitch with the header row, and

df | sed -n 's/^\([^ ]*\) [^%]*[^0-9]\([0-9][0-9]*%\).*/\1 \2/p'

captures the first percentage number field.  In particular, on the Mac, this will capture the Capacity column rather than the %iused column.

share|improve this answer
This does not work for the mac example, as the first number with % suffix is the capacity – k_wave Apr 5 '13 at 13:45
Oops. I fixed it. – Scott Apr 5 '13 at 16:42

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