I'm trying to learn about inotifywait. I installed inotify-tools:

Start-Date: 2019-08-31  18:11:48
Commandline: apt install inotify-tools
Requested-By: dkb (1000)
Install: inotify-tools:amd64 (3.14-7), libinotifytools0:amd64 (3.14-7, automatic)
End-Date: 2019-08-31  18:11:58

I made this script, jl.sh, to copy any modified file in ~/Desktop/vvtemp over to ~/Public and to timestamp the copied file:


inotifywait -m -e modify --format '%w%f' "${dir_to_watch}" | while read line
     newname=/home/dkb/Public/$(date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S)"-${s##*/}"
     cp $line $newname


  • I created a file called test.txt and started the script in one terminal. There were no errors or warnings.

  • In another terminal, I opened test.txt with nano, edited it, saved it and closed it just the one time.

  • Then I edited the same file using gedit and geany

I looked at the listing of files in the target folder, ~/Public:

dkb@Udin:~/Public$ ll
total 36
drwxr-xr-x  2 dkb dkb 4096 Aug 31 18:27 ./
drwxr-xr-x 17 dkb dkb 4096 Aug 31 18:08 ../
-rw-r--r--  1 dkb dkb 1024 Aug 31 18:24 20190831182416-.test.txt.swp
-rw-r--r--  1 dkb dkb 1024 Aug 31 18:24 20190831182419-.test.txt.swp
-rw-r--r--  1 dkb dkb  159 Aug 31 18:24 20190831182441-test.txt
-rw-r--r--  1 dkb dkb  179 Aug 31 18:26 20190831182619-.goutputstream-QN1A7Z
-rw-r--r--  1 dkb dkb  198 Aug 31 18:26 20190831182638-.goutputstream-UDEB7Z
-rw-r--r--  1 dkb dkb  210 Aug 31 18:27 20190831182722-.goutputstream-0X2K7Z
-rw-r--r--  1 dkb dkb  221 Aug 31 18:27 20190831182733-.goutputstream-01D86Z
  • The first three files are related to editing and saving test.txt with nano. The first two files have a .swp suffix. The third file is the intended file with the intended timestamped filename.

  • Then I tried editing the same file with gedit or geany. These editors created the backup files, one for each time I modified and saved the file, but the resulting backups, although they had the intended content, had filenames like 20190831182733-.goutputstream-01D86Z. So it seems that the timestamp is honored but the "basename" isn't.


My questions are:

  • why are two .swp files created by inotifywait when I use nano?

  • why isn't the intended name generated when I use gedit or geany?


Comment "set locking" in /etc/nanorc or ~/.nanorc or $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/nano/nanorc or ~/.config/nano/nanorc

## Enable vim-style lock-files.  This is just to let a vim user know you
## are editing a file [s]he is trying to edit and vice versa.  There are
## no plans to implement vim-style undo state in these files.
#set locking

If you debug inotify you can see that gedit does not modify test:

OPEN test
CREATE .goutputstream-F4776Z
OPEN .goutputstream-F4776Z
ATTRIB .goutputstream-F4776Z
MODIFY .goutputstream-F4776Z
MOVED_FROM .goutputstream-F4776Z
OPEN test

but both uses event "close_write" or you can follow the inotify events and recreate the steps on your backup location.

  • Thanks! I went with close_write and modified /etc/nanorc as you indicated. – Justice for Monica Sep 3 at 13:34

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