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MMV(1)                  FreeBSD General Commands Manual                 MMV(1)

       mmv - move/copy/append/link multiple files by wildcard patterns

       mmv [-m|x|r|c|o|a|l|s] [-h] [-d|p] [-g|t] [-v|n] [from to]

       Mmv moves (or copies, appends, or links, as specified) each source file
       matching a from pattern to the target name specified by the to pattern.
       This multiple action is performed safely, i.e. without any unexpected
       deletion of files due to collisions of target names with existing
       filenames or with other target names.  Furthermore, before doing
       anything, mmv attempts to detect any errors that would result from the
       entire set of actions specified and gives the user the choice of either
       proceeding by avoiding the offending parts or aborting.

       The Task Options

       Whether mmv moves, copies, appends, or links is governed by the first
       set of options given above.  If none of these are specified, the task
       is given by the command name under which mmv was invoked (argv[0]):

            command name   default task

            mmv            -x
            mcp            -c
            mad            -a
            mln            -l

       The task option choices are:

       -m :   move source file to target name.  Both must be on the same
              device.  Will not move directories.  If the source file is a
              symbolic link, moves the link without checking if the link's
              target from the new directory is different than the old.

       -x :   same as -m, except cross-device moves are done by copying, then
              deleting source.  When copying, sets the permission bits and
              file modification time of the target file to that of the source

       -r :   rename source file or directory to target name.  The target name
              must not include a path: the file remains in the same directory
              in all cases.  This option is the only way of renaming
              directories under mmv.

       -c :   copy source file to target name.  Sets the file modification
              time and permission bits of the target file to that of the
              source file, regardless of whether the target file already
              exists.  Chains and cycles (to be explained below) are not

       -o :   overwrite target name with source file.  If target file exists,
              it is overwritten, keeping its original owner and permission
              bits.  If it does not exist, it is created, with read-write
              permission bits set according to umask(1), and the execute
              permission bits copied from the source file.  In either case,
              the file modification time is set to the current time.

       -a :   append contents of source file to target name.  Target file
              modification time is set to the current time.  If target file
              does not exist, it is created with permission bits set as under
              -o.  Unlike all other options, -a allows multiple source files
              to have the same target name, e.g. "mmv -a \*.c big" will append
              all ".c" files to "big".  Chains and cycles are also allowed, so
              "mmv -a f f" will double up "f".

       -l :   link target name to source file.  Both must be on the same
              device, and the source must not be a directory.  Chains and
              cycles are not allowed.

       -s :   same as -l, but use symbolic links instead of hard links.  For
              the resulting link to aim back at the source, either the source
              name must begin with a '/', or the target must reside in either
              the current or the source directory.  If none of these
              conditions are met, the link is refused.  However, source and
              target can reside on different devices, and the source can be a

       Only one of these option may be given, and it applies to all matching
       files.  Remaining options need not be given separately, i.e. "mmv -mk"
       is allowed.

       Multiple Pattern Pairs

       Multiple from -- to pattern pairs may be specified by omitting the
       pattern pair on the command line, and entering them on the standard
       input, one pair per line.  (If a pattern pair is given on the command
       line, the standard input is not read.)  Thus,

          a b
          c d

       would rename "a" to "b" and "c" to "d".  If a file can be matched to
       several of the given from patterns, the to pattern of the first
       matching pair is used.  Thus,

          a b
          a c

       would give the error message "a -> c : no match" because file "a" (even
       if it exists) was already matched by the first pattern pair.

       The From Pattern

       The from pattern is a filename with embedded wildcards: '*', '?',
       '['...']', and ';'.  The first three have their usual sh(1) meanings
       of, respectively, matching any string of characters, matching any
       single character, and matching any one of a set of characters.

       Between the '[' and ']', a range from character 'a' through character
       'z' is specified with "a-z".  The set of matching characters can be
       negated by inserting a '^' after the '['.  Thus, "[^b-e2-5_]" will
       match any character but 'b' through 'e', '2' through '5', and '_'.

       Note that paths are allowed in the patterns, and wildcards may be
       intermingled with slashes arbitrarily.  The ';' wildcard is useful for
       matching files at any depth in the directory tree.  It matches the same
       as "*/" repeated any number of times, including zero, and can only
       occur either at the beginning of the pattern or following a '/'.  Thus
       ";*.c" will match all ".c" files in or below the current directory,
       while "/;*.c" will match them anywhere on the file system.

       In addition, if the from pattern (or the to pattern) begins with "~/",
       the '~' is replaced with the home directory name.  (Note that the
       "~user" feature of csh(1) is not implemented.)  However, the '~' is not
       treated as a wildcard, in the sense that it is not assigned a wildcard
       index (see below).

       Since matching a directory under a task option other than -r or -s
       would result in an error, tasks other than -r and -s match directories
       only against completely explicit from patterns (i.e. not containing
       wildcards).  Under -r and -s, this applies only to "." and "..".

       Files beginning with '.' are only matched against from patterns that
       begin with an explicit '.'.   However, if -h is specified, they are
       matched normally.

       Warning: since the shell normally expands wildcards before passing the
       command-line arguments to mmv, it is usually necessary to enclose the
       command-line from pattern in quotes.

       The To Pattern

       The to pattern is a filename with embedded wildcard indexes, where an
       index consists of the character '#' followed by a string of digits.
       When a source file matches a from pattern, a target name for the file
       is constructed out of the to pattern by replacing the wildcard indexes
       by the actual characters that matched the referenced wildcards in the
       source name.  Thus, if the from pattern is "abc*.*" and the to pattern
       is "xyz#2.#1", then "abc.txt" is targeted to "xyztxt.".  (The first '*'
       matched "", and the second matched "txt".)  Similarly, for the pattern
       pair ";*.[clp]" -> "#1#3/#2", "foo1/foo2/prog.c" is targeted to
       "foo1/foo2/c/prog".  Note that there is no '/' following the "#1" in
       the to pattern, since the string matched by any ';' is always either
       empty or ends in a '/'.  In this case, it matches "foo1/foo2/".

       To convert the string matched by a wildcard to either lowercase or
       uppercase before embedding it in the target name, insert 'l' or 'u',
       respectively, between the '#' and the string of digits.

       The to pattern, like the from pattern, can begin with a "~/" (see
       above).  This does not necessitate enclosing the to pattern in quotes
       on the command line since csh(1) expands the '~' in the exact same
       manner as mmv (or, in the case of sh(1), does not expand it at all).

       For all task options other than -r, if the target name is a directory,
       the real target name is formed by appending a '/' followed by the last
       component of the source file name.  For example, "mmv dir1/a dir2"
       will, if "dir2" is indeed a directory, actually move "dir1/a" to
       "dir2/a".  However, if "dir2/a" already exists and is itself a
       directory, this is considered an error.

       To strip any character (e.g. '*', '?', or '#') of its special meaning
       to mmv, as when the actual replacement name must contain the character
       '#', precede the special character with a '\' (and enclose the argument
       in quotes because of the shell).   This also works to terminate a
       wildcard index when it has to be followed by a digit in the filename,
       e.g. "a#1\1".

       Chains and Cycles

       A chain is a sequence of specified actions where the target name of one
       action refers to the source file of another action.  For example,

       a b
       b c

       specifies the chain "a" -> "b" -> "c".  A cycle is a chain where the
       last target name refers back to the first source file, e.g. "mmv a a".
       Mmv detects chains and cycles regardless of the order in which their
       constituent actions are actually given.  Where allowed, i.e. in moving,
       renaming, and appending files, chains and cycles are handled
       gracefully, by performing them in the proper order.  Cycles are broken
       by first renaming one of the files to a temporary name (or just
       remembering its original size when doing appends).

       Collisions and Deletions

       When any two or more matching files would have to be moved, copied, or
       linked to the same target filename, mmv detects the condition as an
       error before performing any actions.  Furthermore, mmv checks if any of
       its actions will result in the destruction of existing files.  If the
       -d (delete) option is specified, all file deletions or overwrites are
       done silently.  Under -p (protect), all deletions or overwrites (except
       those specified with "(*)" on the standard input, see below) are
       treated as errors.  And if neither option is specified, the user is
       queried about each deletion or overwrite separately.  (A new stream to
       "/dev/tty" is used for all interactive queries, not the standard

       Error Handling

       Whenever any error in the user's action specifications is detected, an
       error message is given on the standard output, and mmv proceeds to
       check the rest of the specified actions.  Once all errors are detected,
       mmv queries the user whether he wishes to continue by avoiding the
       erroneous actions or to abort altogether.  This and all other queries
       may be avoided by specifying either the -g (go) or -t (terminate)
       option.  The former will resolve all difficulties by avoiding the
       erroneous actions; the latter will abort mmv if any errors are
       detected.  Specifying either of them defaults mmv to -p, unless -d is
       specified (see above).  Thus, -g and -t are most useful when running
       mmv in the background or in a shell script, when interactive queries
       are undesirable.


       Once the actions to be performed are determined, mmv performs them
       silently, unless either the -v (verbose) or -n (no-execute) option is
       specified.  The former causes mmv to report each performed action on
       the standard output as

       a -> b : done.

       Here, "a" and "b" would be replaced by the source and target names,
       respectively.  If the action deletes the old target, a "(*)" is
       inserted after the the target name.  Also, the "->" symbol is modified
       when a cycle has to be broken: the '>' is changed to a '^' on the
       action prior to which the old target is renamed to a temporary, and the
       '-' is changed to a '=' on the action where the temporary is used.

       Under -n, none of the actions are performed, but messages like the
       above are printed on the standard output with the ": done." omitted.

       The output generated by -n can (after editing, if desired) be fed back
       to mmv on the standard input (by omitting the from -- to pair on the
       mmv command line).  To facilitate this, mmv ignores lines on the
       standard input that look like its own error and "done" messages, as
       well as all lines beginning with white space, and will accept pattern
       pairs with or without the intervening "->" (or "-^", "=>", or "=^").
       Lines with "(*)" after the target pattern have the effect of enabling
       -d for the files matching this pattern only, so that such deletions are
       done silently.  When feeding mmv its own output, one must remember to
       specify again the task option (if any) originally used to generate it.

       Although mmv attempts to predict all mishaps prior to performing any
       specified actions, accidents may happen.  For example, mmv does not
       check for adequate free space when copying.  Thus, despite all efforts,
       it is still possible for an action to fail after some others have
       already been done.  To make recovery as easy as possible, mmv reports
       which actions have already been done and which are still to be
       performed after such a failure occurs.  It then aborts, not attempting
       to do anything else.  Once the user has cleared up the problem, he can
       feed this report back to mmv on the standard input to have it complete
       the task.  (The user is queried for a file name to dump this report if
       the standard output has not been redirected.)

       Mmv exits with status 1 if it aborts before doing anything, with status
       2 if it aborts due to failure after completing some of the actions, and
       with status 0 otherwise.

       mv(1), cp(1), ln(1), umask(1)

       Vladimir Lanin

       If the search pattern is not quoted, the shell expands the wildcards.
       Mmv then (usually) gives some error message, but can not determine that
       the lack of quotes is the cause.

       To avoid difficulties in semantics and error checking, mmv refuses to
       move or create directories.

                           November 20, 1989 (v1.0)                     MMV(1)


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