How to use ‘find’ command with ‘xargs’ to parallelize file operations in Linux

The “find” command in Linux is a powerful tool for searching for files based on various criteria. When used in combination with the “xargs” command, the “find” command can be even more efficient, allowing you to parallelize file operations and process many files at once. In this article, we’ll discuss how to maximize efficiency by using “find” with “xargs” to parallelize file operations.

What is “xargs”?

“xargs” is a command-line utility that reads items from standard input and executes a command for each item. It’s useful for processing large numbers of items, such as files, in parallel. The “xargs” command takes a list of items and passes them as arguments to a specified command, allowing you to perform operations on many items at once.

How to use “find” with “xargs”

The “find” command can be used to search for files based on various criteria, such as name, type, size, and timestamp. When used in combination with “xargs”, the “find” command can be used to process many files in parallel, making file operations much more efficient.

Examples of “find” with “xargs”

Here is a few examples of find command with xargs in Linux terminal.

  1. Delete files older than 7 days:

    Here’s an example of how to use “find” with “xargs” to delete all files older than 7 days in the current directory:

    Note: As with any file operation, it’s important to be careful when using “find” with “xargs” to delete files. Make sure you preview the files to be deleted and have a backup of the files before deleting them.
    find . -type f -mtime +7 | xargs rm 
    

    In this example, the “find” command is used to search for files in the current directory (specified by the “.” argument) that are older than 7 days (specified by the “-mtime +7” argument). The output of the “find” command is piped to the “xargs” command, which takes the list of files and passes them as arguments to the “rm” command, which deletes the files.

  2. Find and compress files larger than 100 MB:
    find . -type f -size +100M | xargs gzip 
    

    In this example, the “find” command is used to search for files in the current directory that are larger than 100 MB. The output of the “find” command is piped to “xargs”, which passes the list of files as arguments to the “gzip” command, which compresses the files.

  3. Find and delete empty directories:
    find . -type d -empty | xargs rmdir 
    

    In this example, the “find” command is used to search for empty directories in the current directory. The output of the “find” command is piped to “xargs”, which passes the list of directories as arguments to the “rmdir” command, which deletes the directories.

  4. Find and change permissions of all .sh files:
    find . -type f -name "*.sh" | xargs chmod 755 
    

    In this example, the “find” command is used to search for all .sh files in the current directory. The output of the “find” command is piped to “xargs”, which passes the list of .sh files as arguments to the “chmod” command, which changes the permissions of the files to 755.

  5. Find and rename all .txt files to .bak:
    find . -type f -name "*.txt" | xargs -I{} mv {} {}.bak 
    

    In this example, the “find” command is used to search for all .txt files in the current directory. The output of the “find” command is piped to “xargs”, which passes the list of .txt files as arguments to the “mv” command, which renames the files to .bak. The “-I{}” argument is used to specify a placeholder for the input item.

These are just a few examples of how you can use the “find” command with “xargs” to perform file operations in Linux. By using “find” with “xargs”, you can maximize efficiency and save time when performing file operations in Linux.

Conclusion

The “find” command in Linux is a powerful tool for searching for files based on various criteria. When used in combination with the “xargs” command, the “find” command can be even more efficient, allowing you to parallelize file operations and process many files at once. By using “find” with “xargs”, you can maximize efficiency and save time when performing file operations in Linux.

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