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locate - list files in databases that match a pattern


locate [-d path | --database=path] [-e | -E | --[non-]existing] [-i | --ignore-case] [-0 |
--null] [-c | --count] [-w | --wholename] [-b | --basename] [-l N | --limit=N] [-S |
--statistics] [-r | --regex ] [--max-database-age D] [-P | -H | --nofollow] [-L |
--follow] [--version] [-A | --all] [-p | --print] [--help] pattern...


This manual page documents the GNU version of locate. For each given pattern, locate
searches one or more databases of file names and displays the file names that contain the
pattern. Patterns can contain shell-style metacharacters: `*', `?', and `[]'. The
metacharacters do not treat `/' or `.' specially. Therefore, a pattern `foo*bar' can
match a file name that contains `foo3/bar', and a pattern `*duck*' can match a file name
that contains `lake/.ducky'. Patterns that contain metacharacters should be quoted to
protect them from expansion by the shell.

If a pattern is a plain string — it contains no metacharacters — locate displays all file
names in the database that contain that string anywhere. If a pattern does contain
metacharacters, locate only displays file names that match the pattern exactly. As a
result, patterns that contain metacharacters should usually begin with a `*', and will
most often end with one as well. The exceptions are patterns that are intended to
explicitly match the beginning or end of a file name.

The file name databases contain lists of files that were on the system when the databases
were last updated. The system administrator can choose the file name of the default
database, the frequency with which the databases are updated, and the directories for
which they contain entries; see updatedb(1).

If locate's output is going to a terminal, unusual characters in the output are escaped in
the same way as for the -print action of the find command. If the output is not going to
a terminal, file names are printed exactly as-is.


-0, --null
Use ASCII NUL as a separator, instead of newline.

-A, --all
Print only names which match all non-option arguments, not those matching one or
more non-option arguments.

-b, --basename
Results are considered to match if the pattern specified matches the final
component of the name of a file as listed in the database. This final component is
usually referred to as the `base name'.

-c, --count
Instead of printing the matched filenames, just print the total number of matches
we found, unless --print (-p) is also present.

-d path, --database=path
Instead of searching the default file name database, search the file name databases
in path, which is a colon-separated list of database file names. You can also use
the environment variable LOCATE_PATH to set the list of database files to search.
The option overrides the environment variable if both are used. Empty elements in
the path are taken to be synonyms for the file name of the default database. A
database can be supplied on stdin, using `-' as an element of path. If more than
one element of path is `-', later instances are ignored (and a warning message is

The file name database format changed starting with GNU find and locate version 4.0
to allow machines with different byte orderings to share the databases. This
version of locate can automatically recognize and read databases produced for older
versions of GNU locate or Unix versions of locate or find. Support for the old
locate database format will be discontinued in a future release.

-e, --existing
Only print out such names that currently exist (instead of such names that existed
when the database was created). Note that this may slow down the program a lot, if
there are many matches in the database. If you are using this option within a
program, please note that it is possible for the file to be deleted after locate
has checked that it exists, but before you use it.

-E, --non-existing
Only print out such names that currently do not exist (instead of such names that
existed when the database was created). Note that this may slow down the program a
lot, if there are many matches in the database.

--help Print a summary of the options to locate and exit.

-i, --ignore-case
Ignore case distinctions in both the pattern and the file names.

-l N, --limit=N
Limit the number of matches to N. If a limit is set via this option, the number of
results printed for the -c option will never be larger than this number.

-L, --follow
If testing for the existence of files (with the -e or -E options), consider broken
symbolic links to be non-existing. This is the default.

--max-database-age D
Normally, locate will issue a warning message when it searches a database which is
more than 8 days old. This option changes that value to something other than 8.
The effect of specifying a negative value is undefined.

-m, --mmap
Accepted but does nothing, for compatibility with BSD locate.

-P, -H, --nofollow
If testing for the existence of files (with the -e or -E options), treat broken
symbolic links as if they were existing files. The -H form of this option is
provided purely for similarity with find; the use of -P is recommended over -H.

-p, --print
Print search results when they normally would not, because of the presence of
--statistics (-S) or --count (-c).

-r, --regex
The pattern specified on the command line is understood to be a regular expression,
as opposed to a glob pattern. The Regular expressions work in the same was as in
emacs and find, except for the fact that "." will match a newline. Filenames whose
full paths match the specified regular expression are printed (or, in the case of
the -c option, counted). If you wish to anchor your regular expression at the ends
of the full path name, then as is usual with regular expressions, you should use
the characters ^ and $ to signify this.

-s, --stdio
Accepted but does nothing, for compatibility with BSD locate.

-S, --statistics
Print various statistics about each locate database and then exit without
performing a search, unless non-option arguments are given. For compatibility with
BSD, -S is accepted as a synonym for --statistics. However, the output of locate
-S is different for the GNU and BSD implementations of locate.

Print the version number of locate and exit.

-w, --wholename
Match against the whole name of the file as listed in the database. This is the


Colon-separated list of databases to search. If the value has a leading or
trailing colon, or has two colons in a row, you may get results that vary between
different versions of locate.

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