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12.5. File and Archiving Commands

Archiving

tar

The standard UNIX archiving utility. [1] Originally a Tape ARchiving program, it has developed into a general purpose package that can handle all manner of archiving with all types of destination devices, ranging from tape drives to regular files to even stdout (see Example 3-4). GNU tar has been patched to accept various compression filters, such as tar czvf archive_name.tar.gz *, which recursively archives and gzips all files in a directory tree except dotfiles in the current working directory ($PWD). [2]

Some useful tar options:

  1. -c create (a new archive)

  2. -x extract (files from existing archive)

  3. --delete delete (files from existing archive)

    Caution

    This option will not work on magnetic tape devices.

  4. -r append (files to existing archive)

  5. -A append (tar files to existing archive)

  6. -t list (contents of existing archive)

  7. -u update archive

  8. -d compare archive with specified filesystem

  9. -z gzip the archive

    (compress or uncompress, depending on whether combined with the -c or -x) option

  10. -j bzip2 the archive

Caution

It may be difficult to recover data from a corrupted gzipped tar archive. When archiving important files, make multiple backups.

shar

Shell archiving utility. The files in a shell archive are concatenated without compression, and the resultant archive is essentially a shell script, complete with #!/bin/sh header, and containing all the necessary unarchiving commands. Shar archives still show up in Internet newsgroups, but otherwise shar has been pretty well replaced by tar/gzip. The unshar command unpacks shar archives.

ar

Creation and manipulation utility for archives, mainly used for binary object file libraries.

rpm

The Red Hat Package Manager, or rpm utility provides a wrapper for source or binary archives. It includes commands for installing and checking the integrity of packages, among other things.

A simple rpm -i package_name.rpm usually suffices to install a package, though there are many more options available.

Tip

rpm -qf identifies which package a file originates from.

bash$ rpm -qf /bin/ls
coreutils-5.2.1-31
	      

Tip

rpm -qa gives a complete list of all installed rpm packages on a given system. An rpm -qa package_name lists only the package(s) corresponding to package_name.

bash$ rpm -qa
redhat-logos-1.1.3-1
 glibc-2.2.4-13
 cracklib-2.7-12
 dosfstools-2.7-1
 gdbm-1.8.0-10
 ksymoops-2.4.1-1
 mktemp-1.5-11
 perl-5.6.0-17
 reiserfs-utils-3.x.0j-2
 ...


bash$ rpm -qa docbook-utils
docbook-utils-0.6.9-2


bash$ rpm -qa docbook | grep docbook
docbook-dtd31-sgml-1.0-10
 docbook-style-dsssl-1.64-3
 docbook-dtd30-sgml-1.0-10
 docbook-dtd40-sgml-1.0-11
 docbook-utils-pdf-0.6.9-2
 docbook-dtd41-sgml-1.0-10
 docbook-utils-0.6.9-2
	      

cpio

This specialized archiving copy command (copy input and output) is rarely seen any more, having been supplanted by tar/gzip. It still has its uses, such as moving a directory tree.

Example 12-27. Using cpio to move a directory tree

#!/bin/bash

# Copying a directory tree using 'cpio.'

# Advantages of using 'cpio':
#   Speed of copying. It's faster than 'tar' with pipes.
#   Well suited for copying special files (named pipes, etc.)
#+  that 'cp' may choke on.

ARGS=2
E_BADARGS=65

if [ $# -ne "$ARGS" ]
then
  echo "Usage: `basename $0` source destination"
  exit $E_BADARGS
fi  

source=$1
destination=$2

find "$source" -depth | cpio -admvp "$destination"
#               ^^^^^         ^^^^^
# Read the 'find' and 'cpio' man page to decipher these options.


# Exercise:
# --------

#  Add code to check the exit status ($?) of the 'find | cpio' pipe
#+ and output appropriate error messages if anything went wrong.

exit 0
rpm2cpio

This command extracts a cpio archive from an rpm one.

Example 12-28. Unpacking an rpm archive

#!/bin/bash
# de-rpm.sh: Unpack an 'rpm' archive

: ${1?"Usage: `basename $0` target-file"}
# Must specify 'rpm' archive name as an argument.


TEMPFILE=$$.cpio                         # Tempfile with "unique" name.
                                         # $$ is process ID of script.

rpm2cpio < $1 > $TEMPFILE                # Converts rpm archive into cpio archive.
cpio --make-directories -F $TEMPFILE -i  # Unpacks cpio archive.
rm -f $TEMPFILE                          # Deletes cpio archive.

exit 0

#  Exercise:
#  Add check for whether 1) "target-file" exists and
#+                       2) it is really an rpm archive.
#  Hint:                    parse output of 'file' command.

Compression

gzip

The standard GNU/UNIX compression utility, replacing the inferior and proprietary compress. The corresponding decompression command is gunzip, which is the equivalent of gzip -d.

The zcat filter decompresses a gzipped file to stdout, as possible input to a pipe or redirection. This is, in effect, a cat command that works on compressed files (including files processed with the older compress utility). The zcat command is equivalent to gzip -dc.

Caution

On some commercial UNIX systems, zcat is a synonym for uncompress -c, and will not work on gzipped files.

See also Example 7-7.

bzip2

An alternate compression utility, usually more efficient (but slower) than gzip, especially on large files. The corresponding decompression command is bunzip2.

Note

Newer versions of tar have been patched with bzip2 support.

compress, uncompress

This is an older, proprietary compression utility found in commercial UNIX distributions. The more efficient gzip has largely replaced it. Linux distributions generally include a compress workalike for compatibility, although gunzip can unarchive files treated with compress.

Tip

The znew command transforms compressed files into gzipped ones.

sq

Yet another compression utility, a filter that works only on sorted ASCII word lists. It uses the standard invocation syntax for a filter, sq < input-file > output-file. Fast, but not nearly as efficient as gzip. The corresponding uncompression filter is unsq, invoked like sq.

Tip

The output of sq may be piped to gzip for further compression.

zip, unzip

Cross-platform file archiving and compression utility compatible with DOS pkzip.exe. "Zipped" archives seem to be a more acceptable medium of exchange on the Internet than "tarballs".

unarc, unarj, unrar

These Linux utilities permit unpacking archives compressed with the DOS arc.exe, arj.exe, and rar.exe programs.

File Information

file

A utility for identifying file types. The command file file-name will return a file specification for file-name, such as ascii text or data. It references the magic numbers found in /usr/share/magic, /etc/magic, or /usr/lib/magic, depending on the Linux/UNIX distribution.

The -f option causes file to run in batch mode, to read from a designated file a list of filenames to analyze. The -z option, when used on a compressed target file, forces an attempt to analyze the uncompressed file type.

bash$ file test.tar.gz
test.tar.gz: gzip compressed data, deflated, last modified: Sun Sep 16 13:34:51 2001, os: Unix

bash file -z test.tar.gz
test.tar.gz: GNU tar archive (gzip compressed data, deflated, last modified: Sun Sep 16 13:34:51 2001, os: Unix)
	      

# Find sh and Bash scripts in a given directory:

DIRECTORY=/usr/local/bin
KEYWORD=Bourne
# Bourne and Bourne-Again shell scripts

file $DIRECTORY/* | fgrep $KEYWORD

# Output:

# /usr/local/bin/burn-cd:          Bourne-Again shell script text executable
# /usr/local/bin/burnit:           Bourne-Again shell script text executable
# /usr/local/bin/cassette.sh:      Bourne shell script text executable
# /usr/local/bin/copy-cd:          Bourne-Again shell script text executable
# . . .

Example 12-29. Stripping comments from C program files

#!/bin/bash
# strip-comment.sh: Strips out the comments (/* COMMENT */) in a C program.

E_NOARGS=0
E_ARGERROR=66
E_WRONG_FILE_TYPE=67

if [ $# -eq "$E_NOARGS" ]
then
  echo "Usage: `basename $0` C-program-file" >&2 # Error message to stderr.
  exit $E_ARGERROR
fi  

# Test for correct file type.
type=`file $1 | awk '{ print $2, $3, $4, $5 }'`
# "file $1" echoes file type . . .
# Then awk removes the first field of this, the filename . . .
# Then the result is fed into the variable "type".
correct_type="ASCII C program text"

if [ "$type" != "$correct_type" ]
then
  echo
  echo "This script works on C program files only."
  echo
  exit $E_WRONG_FILE_TYPE
fi  


# Rather cryptic sed script:
#--------
sed '
/^\/\*/d
/.*\*\//d
' $1
#--------
# Easy to understand if you take several hours to learn sed fundamentals.


#  Need to add one more line to the sed script to deal with
#+ case where line of code has a comment following it on same line.
#  This is left as a non-trivial exercise.

#  Also, the above code deletes non-comment lines with a "*/" --
#+ not a desirable result.

exit 0


# ----------------------------------------------------------------
# Code below this line will not execute because of 'exit 0' above.

# Stephane Chazelas suggests the following alternative:

usage() {
  echo "Usage: `basename $0` C-program-file" >&2
  exit 1
}

WEIRD=`echo -n -e '\377'`   # or WEIRD=$'\377'
[[ $# -eq 1 ]] || usage
case `file "$1"` in
  *"C program text"*) sed -e "s%/\*%${WEIRD}%g;s%\*/%${WEIRD}%g" "$1" \
     | tr '\377\n' '\n\377' \
     | sed -ne 'p;n' \
     | tr -d '\n' | tr '\377' '\n';;
  *) usage;;
esac

#  This is still fooled by things like:
#  printf("/*");
#  or
#  /*  /* buggy embedded comment */
#
#  To handle all special cases (comments in strings, comments in string
#+ where there is a \", \\" ...) the only way is to write a C parser
#+ (using lex or yacc perhaps?).

exit 0
which

which command-xxx gives the full path to "command-xxx". This is useful for finding out whether a particular command or utility is installed on the system.

$bash which rm
/usr/bin/rm

whereis

Similar to which, above, whereis command-xxx gives the full path to "command-xxx", but also to its manpage.

$bash whereis rm
rm: /bin/rm /usr/share/man/man1/rm.1.bz2

whatis

whatis filexxx looks up "filexxx" in the whatis database. This is useful for identifying system commands and important configuration files. Consider it a simplified man command.

$bash whatis whatis
whatis               (1)  - search the whatis database for complete words

Example 12-30. Exploring /usr/X11R6/bin

#!/bin/bash

# What are all those mysterious binaries in /usr/X11R6/bin?

DIRECTORY="/usr/X11R6/bin"
# Try also "/bin", "/usr/bin", "/usr/local/bin", etc.

for file in $DIRECTORY/*
do
  whatis `basename $file`   # Echoes info about the binary.
done

exit 0

# You may wish to redirect output of this script, like so:
# ./what.sh >>whatis.db
# or view it a page at a time on stdout,
# ./what.sh | less

See also Example 10-3.

vdir

Show a detailed directory listing. The effect is similar to ls -l.

This is one of the GNU fileutils.

bash$ vdir
total 10
 -rw-r--r--    1 bozo  bozo      4034 Jul 18 22:04 data1.xrolo
 -rw-r--r--    1 bozo  bozo      4602 May 25 13:58 data1.xrolo.bak
 -rw-r--r--    1 bozo  bozo       877 Dec 17  2000 employment.xrolo

bash ls -l
total 10
 -rw-r--r--    1 bozo  bozo      4034 Jul 18 22:04 data1.xrolo
 -rw-r--r--    1 bozo  bozo      4602 May 25 13:58 data1.xrolo.bak
 -rw-r--r--    1 bozo  bozo       877 Dec 17  2000 employment.xrolo
	      

locate, slocate

The locate command searches for files using a database stored for just that purpose. The slocate command is the secure version of locate (which may be aliased to slocate).

$bash locate hickson
/usr/lib/xephem/catalogs/hickson.edb

readlink

Disclose the file that a symbolic link points to.

bash$ readlink /usr/bin/awk
../../bin/gawk
	      

strings

Use the strings command to find printable strings in a binary or data file. It will list sequences of printable characters found in the target file. This might be handy for a quick 'n dirty examination of a core dump or for looking at an unknown graphic image file (strings image-file | more might show something like JFIF, which would identify the file as a jpeg graphic). In a script, you would probably parse the output of strings with grep or sed. See Example 10-7 and Example 10-9.

Example 12-31. An "improved" strings command

#!/bin/bash
# wstrings.sh: "word-strings" (enhanced "strings" command)
#
#  This script filters the output of "strings" by checking it
#+ against a standard word list file.
#  This effectively eliminates gibberish and noise,
#+ and outputs only recognized words.

# ===========================================================
#                 Standard Check for Script Argument(s)
ARGS=1
E_BADARGS=65
E_NOFILE=66

if [ $# -ne $ARGS ]
then
  echo "Usage: `basename $0` filename"
  exit $E_BADARGS
fi

if [ ! -f "$1" ]                      # Check if file exists.
then
    echo "File \"$1\" does not exist."
    exit $E_NOFILE
fi
# ===========================================================


MINSTRLEN=3                           #  Minimum string length.
WORDFILE=/usr/share/dict/linux.words  #  Dictionary file.
                                      #  May specify a different
                                      #+ word list file
                                      #+ of one-word-per-line format.


wlist=`strings "$1" | tr A-Z a-z | tr '[:space:]' Z | \
tr -cs '[:alpha:]' Z | tr -s '\173-\377' Z | tr Z ' '`

# Translate output of 'strings' command with multiple passes of 'tr'.
#  "tr A-Z a-z"  converts to lowercase.
#  "tr '[:space:]'"  converts whitespace characters to Z's.
#  "tr -cs '[:alpha:]' Z"  converts non-alphabetic characters to Z's,
#+ and squeezes multiple consecutive Z's.
#  "tr -s '\173-\377' Z"  converts all characters past 'z' to Z's
#+ and squeezes multiple consecutive Z's,
#+ which gets rid of all the weird characters that the previous
#+ translation failed to deal with.
#  Finally, "tr Z ' '" converts all those Z's to whitespace,
#+ which will be seen as word separators in the loop below.

#  ****************************************************************
#  Note the technique of feeding the output of 'tr' back to itself,
#+ but with different arguments and/or options on each pass.
#  ****************************************************************


for word in $wlist                    # Important:
                                      # $wlist must not be quoted here.
                                      # "$wlist" does not work.
                                      # Why not?
do

  strlen=${#word}                     # String length.
  if [ "$strlen" -lt "$MINSTRLEN" ]   # Skip over short strings.
  then
    continue
  fi

  grep -Fw $word "$WORDFILE"          #  Match whole words only.
#      ^^^                            #  "Fixed strings" and
                                      #+ "whole words" options. 

done  


exit $?

Comparison

diff, patch

diff: flexible file comparison utility. It compares the target files line-by-line sequentially. In some applications, such as comparing word dictionaries, it may be helpful to filter the files through sort and uniq before piping them to diff. diff file-1 file-2 outputs the lines in the files that differ, with carets showing which file each particular line belongs to.

The --side-by-side option to diff outputs each compared file, line by line, in separate columns, with non-matching lines marked. The -c and -u options likewise make the output of the command easier to interpret.

There are available various fancy frontends for diff, such as sdiff, wdiff, xdiff, and mgdiff.

Tip

The diff command returns an exit status of 0 if the compared files are identical, and 1 if they differ. This permits use of diff in a test construct within a shell script (see below).

A common use for diff is generating difference files to be used with patch The -e option outputs files suitable for ed or ex scripts.

patch: flexible versioning utility. Given a difference file generated by diff, patch can upgrade a previous version of a package to a newer version. It is much more convenient to distribute a relatively small "diff" file than the entire body of a newly revised package. Kernel "patches" have become the preferred method of distributing the frequent releases of the Linux kernel.

patch -p1 <patch-file
# Takes all the changes listed in 'patch-file'
# and applies them to the files referenced therein.
# This upgrades to a newer version of the package.

Patching the kernel:

cd /usr/src
gzip -cd patchXX.gz | patch -p0
# Upgrading kernel source using 'patch'.
# From the Linux kernel docs "README",
# by anonymous author (Alan Cox?).

Note

The diff command can also recursively compare directories (for the filenames present).

bash$ diff -r ~/notes1 ~/notes2
Only in /home/bozo/notes1: file02
 Only in /home/bozo/notes1: file03
 Only in /home/bozo/notes2: file04
	      

Tip

Use zdiff to compare gzipped files.

diff3

An extended version of diff that compares three files at a time. This command returns an exit value of 0 upon successful execution, but unfortunately this gives no information about the results of the comparison.

bash$ diff3 file-1 file-2 file-3
====
 1:1c
   This is line 1 of "file-1".
 2:1c
   This is line 1 of "file-2".
 3:1c
   This is line 1 of "file-3"
	      

sdiff

Compare and/or edit two files in order to merge them into an output file. Because of its interactive nature, this command would find little use in a script.

cmp

The cmp command is a simpler version of diff, above. Whereas diff reports the differences between two files, cmp merely shows at what point they differ.

Note

Like diff, cmp returns an exit status of 0 if the compared files are identical, and 1 if they differ. This permits use in a test construct within a shell script.

Example 12-32. Using cmp to compare two files within a script.

#!/bin/bash

ARGS=2  # Two args to script expected.
E_BADARGS=65
E_UNREADABLE=66

if [ $# -ne "$ARGS" ]
then
  echo "Usage: `basename $0` file1 file2"
  exit $E_BADARGS
fi

if [[ ! -r "$1" || ! -r "$2" ]]
then
  echo "Both files to be compared must exist and be readable."
  exit $E_UNREADABLE
fi

cmp $1 $2 &> /dev/null  # /dev/null buries the output of the "cmp" command.
#   cmp -s $1 $2  has same result ("-s" silent flag to "cmp")
#   Thank you  Anders Gustavsson for pointing this out.
#
# Also works with 'diff', i.e.,   diff $1 $2 &> /dev/null

if [ $? -eq 0 ]         # Test exit status of "cmp" command.
then
  echo "File \"$1\" is identical to file \"$2\"."
else  
  echo "File \"$1\" differs from file \"$2\"."
fi

exit 0

Tip

Use zcmp on gzipped files.

comm

Versatile file comparison utility. The files must be sorted for this to be useful.

comm -options first-file second-file

comm file-1 file-2 outputs three columns:

  • column 1 = lines unique to file-1

  • column 2 = lines unique to file-2

  • column 3 = lines common to both.

The options allow suppressing output of one or more columns.

  • -1 suppresses column 1

  • -2 suppresses column 2

  • -3 suppresses column 3

  • -12 suppresses both columns 1 and 2, etc.

Utilities

basename

Strips the path information from a file name, printing only the file name. The construction basename $0 lets the script know its name, that is, the name it was invoked by. This can be used for "usage" messages if, for example a script is called with missing arguments:
echo "Usage: `basename $0` arg1 arg2 ... argn"

dirname

Strips the basename from a filename, printing only the path information.

Note

basename and dirname can operate on any arbitrary string. The argument does not need to refer to an existing file, or even be a filename for that matter (see Example A-7).

Example 12-33. basename and dirname

#!/bin/bash

a=/home/bozo/daily-journal.txt

echo "Basename of /home/bozo/daily-journal.txt = `basename $a`"
echo "Dirname of /home/bozo/daily-journal.txt = `dirname $a`"
echo
echo "My own home is `basename ~/`."         # `basename ~` also works.
echo "The home of my home is `dirname ~/`."  # `dirname ~`  also works.

exit 0
split, csplit

These are utilities for splitting a file into smaller chunks. They are usually used for splitting up large files in order to back them up on floppies or preparatory to e-mailing or uploading them.

The csplit command splits a file according to context, the split occuring where patterns are matched.

sum, cksum, md5sum, sha1sum

These are utilities for generating checksums. A checksum is a number mathematically calculated from the contents of a file, for the purpose of checking its integrity. A script might refer to a list of checksums for security purposes, such as ensuring that the contents of key system files have not been altered or corrupted. For security applications, use the md5sum (message digest 5 checksum) command, or better yet, the newer sha1sum (Secure Hash Algorithm).

bash$ cksum /boot/vmlinuz
1670054224 804083 /boot/vmlinuz

bash$ echo -n "Top Secret" | cksum
3391003827 10



bash$ md5sum /boot/vmlinuz
0f43eccea8f09e0a0b2b5cf1dcf333ba  /boot/vmlinuz

bash$ echo -n "Top Secret" | md5sum
8babc97a6f62a4649716f4df8d61728f  -
	      

Note

The cksum command shows the size, in bytes, of its target, whether file or stdout.

The md5sum and sha1sum commands display a dash when they receive their input from stdout.

Example 12-34. Checking file integrity

#!/bin/bash
# file-integrity.sh: Checking whether files in a given directory
#                    have been tampered with.

E_DIR_NOMATCH=70
E_BAD_DBFILE=71

dbfile=File_record.md5
# Filename for storing records (database file).


set_up_database ()
{
  echo ""$directory"" > "$dbfile"
  # Write directory name to first line of file.
  md5sum "$directory"/* >> "$dbfile"
  # Append md5 checksums and filenames.
}

check_database ()
{
  local n=0
  local filename
  local checksum

  # ------------------------------------------- #
  #  This file check should be unnecessary,
  #+ but better safe than sorry.

  if [ ! -r "$dbfile" ]
  then
    echo "Unable to read checksum database file!"
    exit $E_BAD_DBFILE
  fi
  # ------------------------------------------- #

  while read record[n]
  do

    directory_checked="${record[0]}"
    if [ "$directory_checked" != "$directory" ]
    then
      echo "Directories do not match up!"
      # Tried to use file for a different directory.
      exit $E_DIR_NOMATCH
    fi

    if [ "$n" -gt 0 ]   # Not directory name.
    then
      filename[n]=$( echo ${record[$n]} | awk '{ print $2 }' )
      #  md5sum writes records backwards,
      #+ checksum first, then filename.
      checksum[n]=$( md5sum "${filename[n]}" )


      if [ "${record[n]}" = "${checksum[n]}" ]
      then
        echo "${filename[n]} unchanged."

      elif [ "`basename ${filename[n]}`" != "$dbfile" ]
             #  Skip over checksum database file,
             #+ as it will change with each invocation of script.
	     #  ---
	     #  This unfortunately means that when running
	     #+ this script on $PWD, tampering with the
	     #+ checksum database file will not be detected.
	     #  Exercise: Fix this.
	then
          echo "${filename[n]} : CHECKSUM ERROR!"
        # File has been changed since last checked.
      fi

      fi



    let "n+=1"
  done <"$dbfile"       # Read from checksum database file. 

}  

# =================================================== #
# main ()

if [ -z  "$1" ]
then
  directory="$PWD"      #  If not specified,
else                    #+ use current working directory.
  directory="$1"
fi  

clear                   # Clear screen.
echo " Running file integrity check on $directory"
echo

# ------------------------------------------------------------------ #
  if [ ! -r "$dbfile" ] # Need to create database file?
  then
    echo "Setting up database file, \""$directory"/"$dbfile"\"."; echo
    set_up_database
  fi  
# ------------------------------------------------------------------ #

check_database          # Do the actual work.

echo 

#  You may wish to redirect the stdout of this script to a file,
#+ especially if the directory checked has many files in it.

exit 0

#  For a much more thorough file integrity check,
#+ consider the "Tripwire" package,
#+ http://sourceforge.net/projects/tripwire/.

Also see Example A-19 and Example 33-14 for creative uses of the md5sum command.

Note

There have been reports that the 128-bit md5sum can be cracked, so the more secure 160-bit sha1sum is a welcome new addition to the checksum toolkit.
bash$ md5sum testfile
e181e2c8720c60522c4c4c981108e367  testfile


bash$ sha1sum testfile
5d7425a9c08a66c3177f1e31286fa40986ffc996  testfile
	      

shred

Securely erase a file by overwriting it multiple times with random bit patterns before deleting it. This command has the same effect as Example 12-55, but does it in a more thorough and elegant manner.

This is one of the GNU fileutils.

Caution

Advanced forensic technology may still be able to recover the contents of a file, even after application of shred.

Encoding and Encryption

uuencode

This utility encodes binary files into ASCII characters, making them suitable for transmission in the body of an e-mail message or in a newsgroup posting.

uudecode

This reverses the encoding, decoding uuencoded files back into the original binaries.

Example 12-35. Uudecoding encoded files

#!/bin/bash
# Uudecodes all uuencoded files in current working directory.

lines=35        # Allow 35 lines for the header (very generous).

for File in *   # Test all the files in $PWD.
do
  search1=`head -$lines $File | grep begin | wc -w`
  search2=`tail -$lines $File | grep end | wc -w`
  #  Uuencoded files have a "begin" near the beginning,
  #+ and an "end" near the end.
  if [ "$search1" -gt 0 ]
  then
    if [ "$search2" -gt 0 ]
    then
      echo "uudecoding - $File -"
      uudecode $File
    fi  
  fi
done  

#  Note that running this script upon itself fools it
#+ into thinking it is a uuencoded file,
#+ because it contains both "begin" and "end".

#  Exercise:
#  --------
#  Modify this script to check each file for a newsgroup header,
#+ and skip to next if not found.

exit 0

Tip

The fold -s command may be useful (possibly in a pipe) to process long uudecoded text messages downloaded from Usenet newsgroups.

mimencode, mmencode

The mimencode and mmencode commands process multimedia-encoded e-mail attachments. Although mail user agents (such as pine or kmail) normally handle this automatically, these particular utilities permit manipulating such attachments manually from the command line or in a batch by means of a shell script.

crypt

At one time, this was the standard UNIX file encryption utility. [3] Politically motivated government regulations prohibiting the export of encryption software resulted in the disappearance of crypt from much of the UNIX world, and it is still missing from most Linux distributions. Fortunately, programmers have come up with a number of decent alternatives to it, among them the author's very own cruft (see Example A-4).

Miscellaneous

mktemp

Create a temporary file [4] with a "unique" filename. When invoked from the command line without additional arguments, it creates a zero-length file in the /tmp directory.

bash$ mktemp
/tmp/tmp.zzsvql3154
	      

PREFIX=filename
tempfile=`mktemp $PREFIX.XXXXXX`
#                        ^^^^^^ Need at least 6 placeholders
#+                              in the filename template.
#   If no filename template supplied,
#+ "tmp.XXXXXXXXXX" is the default.

echo "tempfile name = $tempfile"
# tempfile name = filename.QA2ZpY
#                 or something similar...

#  Creates a file of that name in the current working directory
#+ with 600 file permissions.
#  A "umask 177" is therefore unnecessary,
#  but it's good programming practice anyhow.

make

Utility for building and compiling binary packages. This can also be used for any set of operations that is triggered by incremental changes in source files.

The make command checks a Makefile, a list of file dependencies and operations to be carried out.

install

Special purpose file copying command, similar to cp, but capable of setting permissions and attributes of the copied files. This command seems tailormade for installing software packages, and as such it shows up frequently in Makefiles (in the make install : section). It could likewise find use in installation scripts.

dos2unix

This utility, written by Benjamin Lin and collaborators, converts DOS-formatted text files (lines terminated by CR-LF) to UNIX format (lines terminated by LF only), and vice-versa.

ptx

The ptx [targetfile] command outputs a permuted index (cross-reference list) of the targetfile. This may be further filtered and formatted in a pipe, if necessary.

more, less

Pagers that display a text file or stream to stdout, one screenful at a time. These may be used to filter the output of stdout . . . or of a script.

An interesting application of more is to "test drive" a command sequence, to forestall potentially unpleasant consequences.
ls /home/bozo | awk '{print "rm -rf " $1}' | more
#                                            ^^^^
		 
# Testing the effect of the following (disastrous) command line:
#      ls /home/bozo | awk '{print "rm -rf " $1}' | sh
#      Hand off to the shell to execute . . .       ^^

Notes

[1]

An archive, in the sense discussed here, is simply a set of related files stored in a single location.

[2]

A tar czvf archive_name.tar.gz * will include dotfiles in directories below the current working directory. This is an undocumented GNU tar "feature".

[3]

This is a symmetric block cipher, used to encrypt files on a single system or local network, as opposed to the "public key" cipher class, of which pgp is a well-known example.

[4]

Creates a temporary directory when invoked with the -d option.

 
 
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