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GLOB(7) NetBSD Miscellaneous Information Manual GLOB(7)
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glob -- shell-style pattern matching
Globbing characters (wildcards) are special characters used to perform
pattern matching of pathnames and command arguments in the csh(1),
ksh(1), and sh(1) shells as well as the C library functions fnmatch(3)
and glob(3). A glob pattern is a word containing one or more unquoted
`?' or `*' characters, or ``[..]'' sequences.
Globs should not be confused with the more powerful regular expressions
used by programs such as grep(1). While there is some overlap in the
special characters used in regular expressions and globs, their meaning
The pattern elements have the following meaning:
? Matches any single character.
* Matches any sequence of zero or more characters.
[..] Matches any of the characters inside the brackets. Ranges of
characters can be specified by separating two characters by a `-'
(e.g. ``[a0-9]'' matches the letter `a' or any digit). In order
to represent itself, a `-' must either be quoted or the first or
last character in the character list. Similarly, a `]' must be
quoted or the first character in the list if it is to represent
itself instead of the end of the list. Also, a `!' appearing at
the start of the list has special meaning (see below), so to rep-
resent itself it must be quoted or appear later in the list.
Within a bracket expression, the name of a character class
enclosed in `[:' and `:]' stands for the list of all characters
belonging to that class. Supported character classes:
alnum cntrl lower space
alpha digit print upper
blank graph punct xdigit
These match characters using the macros specified in ctype(3). A
character class may not be used as an endpoint of a range.
[!..] Like [..], except it matches any character not inside the brack-
\ Matches the character following it verbatim. This is useful to
quote the special characters `?', `*', `[', and `\' such that
they lose their special meaning. For example, the pattern
``\\\*\[x]\?'' matches the string ``\*[x]?''.
Note that when matching a pathname, the path separator `/', is not
matched by a `?', or `*', character or by a ``[..]'' sequence. Thus,
/usr/*/*/X11 would match /usr/X11R6/lib/X11 and /usr/X11R6/include/X11
while /usr/*/X11 would not match either. Likewise, /usr/*/bin would
match /usr/local/bin but not /usr/bin.
fnmatch(3), glob(3), re_format(7)
In early versions of UNIX, the shell did not do pattern expansion itself.
A dedicated program, /etc/glob, was used to perform the expansion and
pass the results to a command. In Version 7 AT&T UNIX, with the intro-
duction of the Bourne shell, this functionality was incorporated into the
NetBSD 9.2 November 30, 2010 NetBSD 9.2