NAME | SYNOPSIS | DESCRIPTION | OUTPUT | OPTIONS | EXIT STATUS | EVENTS | EXAMPLES | BUGS | AUTHORS | SEE ALSO | COLOPHON

inotifywait(1)             General Commands Manual            inotifywait(1)

NAME         top

       inotifywait - wait for changes to files using inotify

SYNOPSIS         top

       inotifywait [-hcmrq] [-e <event> ] [-t <seconds> ] [--format <fmt> ]
       [--timefmt <fmt> ] <file> [ ... ]

DESCRIPTION         top

       inotifywait efficiently waits for changes to files using Linux's
       inotify(7) interface.  It is suitable for waiting for changes to
       files from shell scripts.  It can either exit once an event occurs,
       or continually execute and output events as they occur.

OUTPUT         top

       inotifywait will output diagnostic information on standard error and
       event information on standard output.  The event output can be
       configured, but by default it consists of lines of the following
       form:

       watched_filename EVENT_NAMES event_filename

       watched_filename
              is the name of the file on which the event occurred.  If the
              file is a directory, a trailing slash is output.

       EVENT_NAMES
              are the names of the inotify events which occurred, separated
              by commas.

       event_filename
              is output only when the event occurred on a directory, and in
              this case the name of the file within the directory which
              caused this event is output.

              By default, any special characters in filenames are not
              escaped in any way.  This can make the output of inotifywait
              difficult to parse in awk scripts or similar.  The --csv and
              --format options will be helpful in this case.

OPTIONS         top

       -h, --help
              Output some helpful usage information.

       @<file>
              When watching a directory tree recursively, exclude the
              specified file from being watched.  The file must be specified
              with a relative or absolute path according to whether a
              relative or absolute path is given for watched directories.
              If a specific path is explicitly both included and excluded,
              it will always be watched.

              Note: If you need to watch a directory or file whose name
              starts with @, give the absolute path.

       --fromfile <file>
              Read filenames to watch or exclude from a file, one filename
              per line.  If filenames begin with @ they are excluded as
              described above.  If <file> is `-', filenames are read from
              standard input.  Use this option if you need to watch too many
              files to pass in as command line arguments.

       -m, --monitor
              Instead of exiting after receiving a single event, execute
              indefinitely.  The default behaviour is to exit after the
              first event occurs.

       -d, --daemon
              Same as --monitor, except run in the background logging events
              to a file that must be specified by --outfile. Implies
              --syslog.

       -o, --outfile <file>
              Output events to <file> rather than stdout.

       -s, --syslog
              Output errors to syslog(3) system log module rather than
              stderr.

       -r, --recursive
              Watch all subdirectories of any directories passed as
              arguments.  Watches will be set up recursively to an unlimited
              depth.  Symbolic links are not traversed.  Newly created
              subdirectories will also be watched.

              Warning: If you use this option while watching the root
              directory of a large tree, it may take quite a while until all
              inotify watches are established, and events will not be
              received in this time.  Also, since one inotify watch will be
              established per subdirectory, it is possible that the maximum
              amount of inotify watches per user will be reached.  The
              default maximum is 8192; it can be increased by writing to
              /proc/sys/fs/inotify/max_user_watches.

       -q, --quiet
              If specified once, the program will be less verbose.
              Specifically, it will not state when it has completed
              establishing all inotify watches.

              If specified twice, the program will output nothing at all,
              except in the case of fatal errors.

       --exclude <pattern>
              Do not process any events whose filename matches the specified
              POSIX extended regular expression, case sensitive.

       --excludei <pattern>
              Do not process any events whose filename matches the specified
              POSIX extended regular expression, case insensitive.

       -t <seconds>, --timeout <seconds>
              Exit if an appropriate event has not occurred within <seconds>
              seconds. If <seconds> is zero (the default), wait indefinitely
              for an event.

       -e <event>, --event <event>
              Listen for specific event(s) only.  The events which can be
              listened for are listed in the EVENTS section.  This option
              can be specified more than once.  If omitted, all events are
              listened for.

       -c, --csv
              Output in CSV (comma-separated values) format.  This is useful
              when filenames may contain spaces, since in this case it is
              not safe to simply split the output at each space character.

       --timefmt <fmt>
              Set a time format string as accepted by strftime(3) for use
              with the `%T' conversion in the --format option.

       --format <fmt>
              Output in a user-specified format, using printf-like syntax.
              The event strings output are limited to around 4000 characters
              and will be truncated to this length.  The following
              conversions are supported:

       %w     This will be replaced with the name of the Watched file on
              which an event occurred.

       %f     When an event occurs within a directory, this will be replaced
              with the name of the File which caused the event to occur.
              Otherwise, this will be replaced with an empty string.

       %e     Replaced with the Event(s) which occurred, comma-separated.

       %Xe    Replaced with the Event(s) which occurred, separated by
              whichever character is in the place of `X'.

       %T     Replaced with the current Time in the format specified by the
              --timefmt option, which should be a format string suitable for
              passing to strftime(3).

EXIT STATUS         top

       0      The program executed successfully, and an event occurred which
              was being listened for.

       1      An error occurred in execution of the program, or an event
              occurred which was not being listened for.  The latter
              generally occurs if something happens which forcibly removes
              the inotify watch, such as a watched file being deleted or the
              filesystem containing a watched file being unmounted.

       2      The -t option was used and an event did not occur in the
              specified interval of time.

EVENTS         top

       The following events are valid for use with the -e option:

       access A watched file or a file within a watched directory was read
              from.

       modify A watched file or a file within a watched directory was
              written to.

       attrib The metadata of a watched file or a file within a watched
              directory was modified.  This includes timestamps, file
              permissions, extended attributes etc.

       close_write
              A watched file or a file within a watched directory was
              closed, after being opened in writeable mode.  This does not
              necessarily imply the file was written to.

       close_nowrite
              A watched file or a file within a watched directory was
              closed, after being opened in read-only mode.

       close  A watched file or a file within a watched directory was
              closed, regardless of how it was opened.  Note that this is
              actually implemented simply by listening for both close_write
              and close_nowrite, hence all close events received will be
              output as one of these, not CLOSE.

       open   A watched file or a file within a watched directory was
              opened.

       moved_to
              A file or directory was moved into a watched directory.  This
              event occurs even if the file is simply moved from and to the
              same directory.

       moved_from
              A file or directory was moved from a watched directory.  This
              event occurs even if the file is simply moved from and to the
              same directory.

       move   A file or directory was moved from or to a watched directory.
              Note that this is actually implemented simply by listening for
              both moved_to and moved_from, hence all close events received
              will be output as one or both of these, not MOVE.

       move_self
              A watched file or directory was moved. After this event, the
              file or directory is no longer being watched.

       create A file or directory was created within a watched directory.

       delete A file or directory within a watched directory was deleted.

       delete_self
              A watched file or directory was deleted.  After this event the
              file or directory is no longer being watched.  Note that this
              event can occur even if it is not explicitly being listened
              for.

       unmount
              The filesystem on which a watched file or directory resides
              was unmounted.  After this event the file or directory is no
              longer being watched.  Note that this event can occur even if
              it is not explicitly being listened to.

EXAMPLES         top

   Example 1
       Running inotifywait at the command-line to wait for any file in the
       `test' directory to be accessed.  After running inotifywait, `cat
       test/foo' is run in a separate console.

       % inotifywait test
       Setting up watches.
       Watches established.
       test/ ACCESS foo

   Example 2
       A short shell script to efficiently wait for httpd-related log
       messages and do something appropriate.

       #!/bin/sh
       while inotifywait -e modify /var/log/messages; do
         if tail -n1 /var/log/messages | grep httpd; then
           kdialog --msgbox "Apache needs love!"
         fi
       done

   Example 3
       A custom output format is used to watch `~/test'.  Meanwhile, someone
       runs `touch ~/test/badfile; touch ~/test/goodfile; rm ~/test/badfile'
       in another console.

       % inotifywait -m -r --format '%:e %f' ~/test
       Setting up watches.  Beware: since -r was given, this may take a while!
       Watches established.
       CREATE badfile
       OPEN badfile
       ATTRIB badfile
       CLOSE_WRITE:CLOSE badfile
       CREATE goodfile
       OPEN goodfile
       ATTRIB goodfile
       CLOSE_WRITE:CLOSE goodfile
       DELETE badfile

BUGS         top

       There are race conditions in the recursive directory watching code
       which can cause events to be missed if they occur in a directory
       immediately after that directory is created.  This is probably not
       fixable.

       It is assumed the inotify event queue will never overflow.

AUTHORS         top

       inotifywait is written and maintained by Rohan McGovern
       <rohan@mcgovern.id.au>.

       inotifywait is part of inotify-tools.  The inotify-tools website is
       located at: http://inotify-tools.sourceforge.net/ 

SEE ALSO         top

       inotifywatch(1), strftime(3), inotify(7)

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the inotify-tools (command-line programs
       providing a simple interface to inotify) project.  Information about
       the project can be found at 
       ⟨https://github.com/rvoicilas/inotify-tools/wiki⟩.  If you have a bug
       report for this manual page, send it to
       inotify-tools-general@lists.sourceforge.net.  This page was obtained
       from the project's upstream Git repository 
       ⟨https://github.com/rvoicilas/inotify-tools.git⟩ on 2017-05-03.  If
       you discover any rendering problems in this HTML version of the page,
       or you believe there is a better or more up-to-date source for the
       page, or you have corrections or improvements to the information in
       this COLOPHON (which is not part of the original manual page), send a
       mail to man-pages@man7.org

inotifywait 3.14                May 03, 2017                  inotifywait(1)

Pages that refer to this page: inotify(7)