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Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: Oct 2020
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plocate - find files by name, quickly



plocate [OPTION]... PATTERN...



plocate finds all files on the system matching the given pattern (or all of the patterns if multiple are given). It does this by means of an index made by updatedb(8) or (less commonly) converted from another index by plocate-build(8).

plocate is largely argument-compatible with mlocate(1), but is significantly faster. In particular, it rarely needs to scan through its entire database, unless the pattern is very short (less than three bytes) or you want to search for a regular expression. It does not try to maintain compatibility with BSD locate, or non-UTF-8 filenames and locales. Most I/O is done asynchronously, but the results are synchronized so that output comes in the same order every time.

When multiple patterns are given, plocate will search for files that match all of them. This is the main incompatibility with mlocate(1), which searches for files that match one or more patterns, unless the -A option is given.

By default, patterns are taken to be substrings to search for. If at least one non-escaped globbing metacharacter (*, ? or []) is given, that pattern is instead taken to be a glob pattern (which means it needs to start and end in * for a substring match). If --regexp is given, patterns are instead taken to be (non-anchored) POSIX basic regular expressions, and if --regex is given, patterns are taken to be POSIX extended regular expressions. All of this matches mlocate(1) behavior.

Like mlocate(1), plocate shows all files visible to the calling user (by virtue of having read and execute permissions on all parent directories), and none that are not, by means of running with the setgid bit set to access the index (which is built as root), but by testing visibility as the calling user.



-A, --all
Ignored for compatibility with mlocate(1).

-b, --basename
Match only against the file name portion of the path name, ie., the directory names will be excluded from the match (but still printed). This does not speed up the search, but can suppress uninteresting matches.

-c, --count
Do not print each match. Instead, count them, and print out a total number at the end.

-d, --database DBPATH
Find matches in the given database, instead of /var/lib/plocate/plocate.db. This argument can be given multiple times, to search multiple databases. It is also possible to give multiple databases in one argument, separated by :. (Any character, including : and \, can be escaped by prepending a \.)

-e, --existing
Print only entries that refer to files existing at the time locate is run. Note that unlike mlocate(1), symlinks are not followed by default (and indeed, there is no option to change this).

-i, --ignore-case
Do a case-insensitive match as given by the current locale (default is case-sensitive, byte-by-byte match). Note that plocate does not support the full range of Unicode case folding rules; in particular, searching for ß will not give you matches on ss even in a German locale. Also note that this option will be somewhat slower than a case-sensitive match, since it needs to generate more candidates for searching the index.

-p, --ignore-spaces
Ignore punctuation and spaces when matching patterns.

-l, --limit LIMIT
Stop searching after LIMIT matches have been found. If --count is given, the number printed out will be at most LIMIT.

-N, --literal
Print entry names without quoting. Normally, plocate will escape special characters in filenames, so that they are safe for consumption by typical shells (similar to the GNU coreutils shell-escape-always quoting style), unless printing to a pipe, but this options will turn off such quoting.

-0, --null
Instead of writing a newline after every match, write a NUL (ASCII 0). This is useful for creating unambiguous output when it is to be processed by other tools (like xargs(1)), as filenames are allowed to contain embedded newlines.

-r, --regexp
Patterns are taken to be POSIX basic regular expressions. See regex(7) for more information. Note that this forces a linear scan through the entire database, which is slow.

Like --regexp, but patterns are instead taken to be POSIX extended regular expressions.

-w, --wholename
Match against the entire path name. This is the default, so unless -b is given first (see above), it will not do anything. This option thus exists only as compatibility with mlocate(1).

Print out usage information, then exit successfully.

Print out version information, then exit successfully.



If given, appended after the list of --database paths (whether an explicit is given or the default is used). Colon-delimiting and character escaping follows the same rules as for --database.



Steinar H. Gunderson <steinar+plocate@gunderson.no>



plocate-build(8), mlocate(1), updatedb(8)




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