was trying to compare two directories. one directory is the reference directory(dir1) and the other is the directory where modifications(dir2) are being done

I need the list of files which are modified or added in the dir2 compared with dir1.

I used rsync and diff and getting the result. But need the files with absolute Path in the output.

diff --brief --recursive /test/dir2 /reference/dir1

Output is

Only in /test/dir2: king.txt

Only in /test/dir2/sdir2: abc.txt

Only in /test/dir2: test1

Only in /test/dir2/sdir3: test.txt

and using rsync

rsync -av --dry-run /test/dir2/ /reference/dir1


sending incremental file list







sent 52712 bytes received 1339 bytes 108102.00 bytes/sec

total size is 0 speedup is 0.00 (DRY RUN)

need the list with the complete path /test/dir2/king.txt and to be stored in one file.

Best Regards, KJ.

2 Answers 2


Should be easy enough to tweak the diff output to match your needs ... just pipe the diff through sed.

sed -r -e 's/^.*Only in //' -e 's@: @/@'
  • Hi Tink, Thanks, this also gave the output with absolute path with extra "/" in the output if the command ends with "/" at the end of directory Output: > /test/dir2//king.txt If the command doesnot have any "/" at the end of directory the output was perfect.
    – KumarJohn
    Mar 14, 2013 at 6:13

You could just parse the output of diff:

diff --brief --recursive /test/dir2/ /reference/dir1/ | 
  gawk '(/Only/){print $3""$NF}' | sed 's/://'

Make sure you include the trailing / in the directory names, this solution expects them. Use /test/dir2/ and not /test/dir2. Also, this will not work if your file names contain spaces.

  • Hi terdon, Thanks for the input. This worked and gave me the absolute path.
    – KumarJohn
    Mar 14, 2013 at 6:11
  • @user2119462 you're welcome. If one of the answers here helped you, please accept and/or upvote it.
    – terdon
    Mar 14, 2013 at 12:16

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