Blog Posts
Using bash wildcards
Shell Tips
November 4, 2006 | COMMENTS

Common way for rename a mispelled file is to use mv but many dudes will first write the curent name then the new name (ie. mv old_file new_file). Stop ! Use the wildcards ! 😃

Most used wildcard is the asterix "*" (match all characters) but other usefull wildcards exist like the question mark "?" that match for a single character. In some case, as a large directories, that’s avoid you to use a grep on your ls command and give you a more concise listing.

# Question Mark Wildcard "?"

nicolas@grimm:~$ ls

pic1.jpg pic1.txt pic2.jpg pic3.jpg pic4.jpg pic5.jpg pic-big.jpg pic.jpg pic-small.jpg pic.txt pic1.txt pic2.txt pic1.bmp
nicolas@grimm:~$ ls pic?.jpg

pic1.jpg pic2.jpg pic3.jpg pic4.jpg pic5.jpg

Other usefful wildcard will be square brackets "[]" and curly brackets "{}". First let you match a range of values, second let you define a list of values.

# Square Brackets Wildcard "[]"

nicolas@grimm:~$ ls pic[ 1-3].jpg

pic1.jpg pic2.jpg pic3.jpg

# Curly Brackets Wildcard "{}"

nicolas@grimm:~$ ls pic1.{txt,jpg,bmp}

pic1.txt pic1.jpg pic1.bmp

You can use those wildcards simultanously for a better search.

nicolas@grimm:~$ ls pic[1-3].{txt,jpg}

pic1.jpg pic1.txt pic2.jpg pic3.jpg

We have seen how to perform our ls search but you can also use those bash wildcards in any of your bash commands !

nicolas@grimm:~$ mv a_too_{short,long}_file_name_with_lot_of_ch4r4ct3r3.txt

will result in renaming the file a_too_short_file_name_with_lot_of_ch4r4ct3r3.txt to a_too_long_file*_name_with_lot_of_ch4r4ct3r3.txt*

nicolas@grimm:~$ cp pic[1-3].jpg dest

will result in copying pic1.jpg, pic2.jpg and pic3.jpg into the directory dest

Working quickly with some usefull BASH Shortcuts
Shell Tips
October 29, 2006 | COMMENTS

Last day, one of my friends was doing some stuff on its Mac OSX Term without using any shortcuts. I suggest some of them (which are POSIX, GNU or Shell keys combinations) to him and he answer me : Why don’t you post it on ?!

Those shortcuts are for Bash shell but it’s probably work with other advance shells.

Control Keys combinations (CTRL+KEY)

  1. ctrl+a : move your cursor to the beginning of the line
  2. ctrl+e : move your cursor to the end of the line
  3. ctrl+k : delete any characters from your cursor to the end of the line
  4. ctrl+u : delete any characters from your cursor to the beginning of the line
  5. ctrl+w : delete previous word
  6. ctrl+t : transpose two previous characters
  7. ctrl+y : yank/recover the last deletion
  8. ctrl+d : delete one character at the cursor position
  9. ctrl+h : delete one character before the cursor
  10. ctrl+f : move forward (or use the right arrow ! 😃
  11. ctrl+b : move backward (or use the left arrow ! 😃
  12. ctrl+r : find character sequence in history (completion mode)
  13. ctrl+g : escape from completion mode
  14. ctrl+v : Literal next (LNEXT)

NB: LNEXT interpret the next character as a string. eg : for symbolize a CR+LF* you must do the key combination ctrl+v+return, that will print ^M.*

Escape Keys combinations (ESC+KEY)

  1. esc+d : delete from the cursor position to the end of the word
  2. esc+f : move forward a word
  3. esc+b : move backward a word
  4. esc+t : transpose two adjacent words

Other common keys

  1. Use up/down arrows to move thru the bash command history
  2. Use left/right arrows to move on the current line
  3. Use tabulation key (TAB) for auto-complete a command name or a file name
  4. Use exclamation key + command name for repeat last similar command (ex. : !vi will recall the last vi command)
Help Sheet for vi/vim editor
Tips Tutorial
October 29, 2006 | COMMENTS

Forgot a command or a shortcut in your favorite text editor ? Here is a small help sheet with most used commands !

I read it some times for remember me some useful commands that can help you to work faster with vi or vim (Vi IMproved).

Vi help sheet thema : insert mode, search commands, edit commands, navigation commands, file commands...

vi help sheet ** Download it **: vi help sheet in pdf

CLI workaround for Windows XP : Using GREP (QGREP)
Shell Tips
October 21, 2006 | COMMENTS

In our list of "CLI workaround for Windows XP", a missing command is GREP. Now, you can have a GREP-Like command with the DOS command QGREP. Get the [Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit tools][1] on

# display help


usage: qgrep [-?BELOXlnzvxy][-e string][-f file][-i file][strings][files] -? - print this message
-B - match pattern if at beginning of line
-E - match pattern if at end of line
-L - treat search strings literally (fgrep)
-O - print seek offset before each matching line
-X - treat search strings as regular expressions (grep)
-l - print only file name if file contains match
-n - print line number before each matching line
-z - print matching lines in MSC error message format
-v - print only lines not containing a match
-x - print lines that match exactly (-BE)
-y - treat upper and lower case as equivalent
-e - treat next argument literally as a search string
-f - read search strings from file named by next argument (- = stdin)
-i - read file list from file named by next argument (- = stdin)
White space separates search strings unless the argument is prefixed with -e, e.g., ‘qgrep "all out" x.y’ means find either "all" or "out" in x.y, while ‘qgrep -e "all out" x.y’ means find "all out".

# Example for UNIX-Like regexp search


System Requirements

Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003; Windows XP

  • 30 MB of free disk space
  • Windows XP
  • Windows XP SP1
  • Windows Server 2003 family
Customize your DOS/CMD Prompt
Shell Tips
October 21, 2006 | COMMENTS

If you want to tune your PROMPT you just need to use... the PROMPT command ! By default the prompt is set to the current path, but you can customize it a little.

# Display prompt help


# Customize your prompt


# Will give this result in my cmd window

17:11:55,31 sam. 21/10/2006

D:\Documents and Settings\Nicolas>

  • ...