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LOCATE(1)               FreeBSD General Commands Manual              LOCATE(1)

       locate - list files in databases that match a pattern

       locate [-d path | --database=path] [-e | -E | --[non-]existing] [-i |
       --ignore-case] [-0 | --null] [-c | --count] [-w | --wholename] |-b |
       --basename] [-l N | --limit=N] [-S | --statistics] [-r | --regex ]
       [--max-database-age D] [-P | -H | --nofollow] [-L | --follow]
       [--version] [-A | --all] [-p | --print] [--help] pattern...

       This manual page documents the GNU version of locate.  For each given
       pattern, locate searches one or more databases of file names and
       displays the file names that contain the pattern.  Patterns can contain
       shell-style metacharacters: `*', `?', and `[]'.  The metacharacters do
       not treat `/' or `.'  specially.  Therefore, a pattern `foo*bar' can
       match a file name that contains `foo3/bar', and a pattern `*duck*' can
       match a file name that contains `lake/.ducky'.  Patterns that contain
       metacharacters should be quoted to protect them from expansion by the

       If a pattern is a plain string -- it contains no metacharacters --
       locate displays all file names in the database that contain that string
       anywhere.  If a pattern does contain metacharacters, locate only
       displays file names that match the pattern exactly.  As a result,
       patterns that contain metacharacters should usually begin with a `*',
       and will most often end with one as well.  The exceptions are patterns
       that are intended to explicitly match the beginning or end of a file

       The file name databases contain lists of files that were on the system
       when the databases were last updated.  The system administrator can
       choose the file name of the default database, the frequency with which
       the databases are updated, and the directories for which they contain
       entries; see updatedb(1).

       If locate's output is going to a terminal, unusual characters in the
       output are escaped in the same way as for the -print action of the find
       command.  If the output is not going to a terminal, file names are
       printed exactly as-is.

       -0, --null
              Use ASCII NUL as a separator, instead of newline.

       -A, --all
              Print only names which match all non-option arguments, not those
              matching one or more non-option arguments.

       -b, --basename
              Results are considered to match if the pattern specified matches
              the final component of the name of a file as listed in the
              database.  This final component is usually referred to as the
              `base name'.

       -c, --count
              Instead of printing the matched filenames, just print the total
              number of matches we found, unless --print (-p) is also present.

       -d path, --database=path
              Instead of searching the default file name database, search the
              file name databases in path, which is a colon-separated list of
              database file names.  You can also use the environment variable
              LOCATE_PATH to set the list of database files to search.  The
              option overrides the environment variable if both are used.
              Empty elements in the path are taken to be synonyms for the file
              name of the default database.  A database can be supplied on
              stdin, using `-' as an element of path. If more than one element
              of path is `-', later instances are ignored (and a warning
              message is printed).

              The file name database format changed starting with GNU find and
              locate version 4.0 to allow machines with different byte
              orderings to share the databases.  This version of locate can
              automatically recognize and read databases produced for older
              versions of GNU locate or Unix versions of locate or find.
              Support for the old locate database format will be discontinued
              in a future release.

       -e, --existing
              Only print out such names that currently exist (instead of such
              names that existed when the database was created).  Note that
              this may slow down the program a lot, if there are many matches
              in the database.  If you are using this option within a program,
              please note that it is possible for the file to be deleted after
              locate has checked that it exists, but before you use it.

       -E, --non-existing
              Only print out such names that currently do not exist (instead
              of such names that existed when the database was created).  Note
              that this may slow down the program a lot, if there are many
              matches in the database.

       --help Print a summary of the options to locate and exit.

       -i, --ignore-case
              Ignore case distinctions in both the pattern and the file names.

       -l N, --limit=N
              Limit the number of matches to N.  If a limit is set via this
              option, the number of results printed for the -c option will
              never be larger than this number.

       -L, --follow
              If testing for the existence of files (with the -e or -E
              options), consider broken symbolic links to be non-existing.
              This is the default.

       --max-database-age D
              Normally, locate will issue a warning message when it searches a
              database which is more than 8 days old.  This option changes
              that value to something other than 8.  The effect of specifying
              a negative value is undefined.

       -m, --mmap
              Accepted but does nothing, for compatibility with BSD locate.

       -P, -H, --nofollow
              If testing for the existence of files (with the -e or -E
              options), treat broken symbolic links as if they were existing
              files.  The -H form of this option is provided purely for
              similarity with find; the use of -P is recommended over -H.

       -p, --print
              Print search results when they normally would not, because of
              the presence of --statistics (-S) or --count (-c).

       -r, --regex
              The pattern specified on the command line is understood to be a
              regular expression, as opposed to a glob pattern.  The Regular
              expressions work in the same was as in emacs and find, except
              for the fact that "." will match a newline.  Filenames whose
              full paths match the specified regular expression are printed
              (or, in the case of the -c option, counted).  If you wish to
              anchor your regular expression at the ends of the full path
              name, then as is usual with regular expressions, you should use
              the characters ^ and $ to signify this.

       -s, --stdio
              Accepted but does nothing, for compatibility with BSD locate.

       -S, --statistics
              Print various statistics about each locate database and then
              exit without performing a search, unless non-option arguments
              are given.  For compatibility with BSD, -S is accepted as a
              synonym for --statistics.  However, the ouptut of locate -S is
              different for the GNU and BSD implementations of locate.

              Print the version number of locate and exit.

       -w, --wholename
              Match against the whole name of the file as listed in the
              database.  This is the default.

              Colon-separated list of databases to search.  If the value has a
              leading or trailing colon, or has two colons in a row, you may
              get results that vary between different versions of locate.

       find(1), locatedb(5), updatedb(1), xargs(1), glob(3), Finding Files
       (on-line in Info, or printed)

       The locate program started life as the BSD fast find program,
       contributed to BSD by James A. Woods.  This was described by his paper
       Finding Files Fast which was published in Usenix ;login:, Vol 8, No 1,
       February/March, 1983, pp. 8-10.   When the find program began to assume
       a default -print action if no action was specified, this changed the
       interpretation of find pattern.  The BSD developers therefore moved the
       fast find functionality into locate.  The GNU implementation of locate
       appears to be derived from the same code.

       Significant changes to locate in reverse order:

       4.3.7     Byte-order independent support for old database format
       4.3.3     locate -i supports multi-byte characters correctly
                 Introduced --max_db_age
       4.3.2     Support for the slocate database format
       4.2.22    Introduced the --all option
       4.2.15    Introduced the --regex option
       4.2.14    Introduced options -L, -P, -H
       4.2.12    Empty items in LOCATE_PATH now indicate the default database
       4.2.11    Introduced the --statistics option
       4.2.4     Introduced --count and --limit
       4.2.0     Glob characters cause matching against the whole file name
       4.0       Introduced the LOCATE02 database format
       3.7       Locate can search multiple databases

       The locate database correctly handles filenames containing newlines,
       but only if the system's sort command has a working -z option.  If you
       suspect that locate may need to return filenames containing newlines,
       consider using its --null option.

       The best way to report a bug is to use the form at  The reason for this is
       that you will then be able to track progress in fixing the problem.
       Other comments about locate(1) and about the findutils package in
       general can be sent to the bug-findutils mailing list.  To join the
       list, send email to



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