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I'm trying to rename my movie collection. All of the files are currently named using dots instead of spaces, i.e. I want to replace all of the dots with spaces which isn't terribly difficult, but I need to preserve the last dot for the file extension, i.e. .avi, .mp4, .ogg, etc.

My Googling has provided no solutions. I'm also a Javascript developer and could see some snazzy applications for it. So, any suggestions?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

One way would be to use the Perl rename utility. The Perl regex \.(?=.*\.) matches a dot only when there is another dot later.

rename 's/\.(?=.*\.)/ /g' *.*.*

If you want to act on files in subdirectories as well:

shopt -s globstar    # you can put this in your ~/.bashrc
rename 's/\.(?=.*\.)/ /g' **/*.*.*

This works assuming you don't have dots in your directory names. Otherwise I think the simplest method would be to use find:

find -depth -name '*.*.*' -exec rename 's/\.(?=.*\.)/ /g' {} +

Alternatively, using zsh (this only renames regular files and leaves directory names alone, due to the glob qualifier (.) at the end):

autoload zmv    # you can put this in your ~/.zshrc
zmv -Q '(**/)(*.*)(.[^.]##)(.)' '$1${2//./ }$3'
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Once I finally went back and tested it this worked swimmingly. I'm also now using it to dynamically rename some file uploads on my site. Thanks so much! – trezy Nov 2 '12 at 17:46

While writing this question it occurred to me that I hadn't checked the Ubuntu Software Center. I found an app, pyRenamer, which did a fantastic job of accomplishing my task. I ended up just changing all of the dots to spaces, then changing all instances of the file extensions that were preceded by a space, i.e. " avi", " mp4", " ogg", to replace the spaces with dots. This isn't the best option as there could be a movie with avi or ogg in the title which would be a major pain in the bum, but it did the trick this time.

I'm still interested in the simpler RegEx solution.

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cd $movielibrary
rename -n 's/\./ /g;s/ ([^ ]*$)/.$1/' *

Does it look good? Rerun the last command without -n.

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