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While trying my hand at writing some bash scripts I've come across various usage of the -exec parameter. In my context, I'm using it after the find command.

This guide states to use {} /; after the exec in order to pass the file name and to escape the ; so that command properly terminates.

This forum post shows the use of '{}' ';' instead of {} /;.

I tried out both methods on Ubuntu 11.04 and only the one with the single quotes is working correctly. Is there a difference between Linux versions which causes this? Are they interchangeable? Is one preferred over the other?

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1 Answer 1

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Your shell may assign the sequence {} a special meaning (depending on the type of shell and even if you are inside a shell script or not). To avoid this, you may either enclose it in quotes '{}' or escape it like so: \{\} (you need to use a backslash \ instead of a forward slash / like you did in your question).

Also note that the usual error message if you do it wrong (for instance, if you use ; instead of \;) is:

find: missing argument to -exec

See also the corresponding section in find's manpage.

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