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Joachim Ansorg edited this page Nov 12, 2021 · 7 revisions

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-e doesn't work with globs. Use a for loop.

Problematic code:

if [ -e dir/*.mp3 ]
then
  echo "There are mp3 files."
fi

Correct code:

for file in dir/*.mp3
do
  if [ -e "$file" ]
  then
    echo "There are mp3 files"
    break
  fi
done

Rationale:

[ -e file* ] only works if there's 0 or 1 matches. If there are multiple, it becomes [ -e file1 file2 ], and the test fails.

[[ -e file* ]] doesn't work at all.

Instead, use a for loop to expand the glob and check each result individually.

If you are looking for the existence of a directory, do:

for f in /path/to/your/files*; do

    ## Check if the glob gets expanded to existing files.
    ## If not, f here will be exactly the pattern above
    ## and the exists test will evaluate to false.
    [ -e "$f" ] && echo "files do exist" || echo "files do not exist"

    ## This is all we needed to know, so we can break after the first iteration
    break
done

Exceptions

If filename expansion (globbing) is disabled (set -f), then the [ statement works as expected.

Related resources: