glob(3) — Linux manual page


GLOB(3)                   Linux Programmer's Manual                  GLOB(3)

NAME         top

       glob,  globfree - find pathnames matching a pattern, free memory from

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <glob.h>

       int glob(const char *pattern, int flags,
                int (*errfunc) (const char *epath, int eerrno),
                glob_t *pglob);
       void globfree(glob_t *pglob);

DESCRIPTION         top

       The glob() function searches for all the pathnames matching pattern
       according to the rules used by the shell (see glob(7)).  No tilde
       expansion or parameter substitution is done; if you want these, use

       The globfree() function frees the dynamically allocated storage from
       an earlier call to glob().

       The results of a glob() call are stored in the structure pointed to
       by pglob.  This structure is of type glob_t (declared in <glob.h>)
       and includes the following elements defined by POSIX.2 (more may be
       present as an extension):

           typedef struct {
               size_t   gl_pathc;    /* Count of paths matched so far  */
               char   **gl_pathv;    /* List of matched pathnames.  */
               size_t   gl_offs;     /* Slots to reserve in gl_pathv.  */
           } glob_t;

       Results are stored in dynamically allocated storage.

       The argument flags is made up of the bitwise OR of zero or more the
       following symbolic constants, which modify the behavior of glob():

              Return upon a read error (because a directory does not have
              read permission, for example).  By default, glob() attempts
              carry on despite errors, reading all of the directories that
              it can.

              Append a slash to each path which corresponds to a directory.

              Don't sort the returned pathnames.  The only reason to do this
              is to save processing time.  By default, the returned path‐
              names are sorted.

              Reserve pglob->gl_offs slots at the beginning of the list of
              strings in pglob->pathv.  The reserved slots contain null

              If no pattern matches, return the original pattern.  By de‐
              fault, glob() returns GLOB_NOMATCH if there are no matches.

              Append the results of this call to the vector of results re‐
              turned by a previous call to glob().  Do not set this flag on
              the first invocation of glob().

              Don't allow backslash ('\') to be used as an escape character.
              Normally, a backslash can be used to quote the following char‐
              acter, providing a mechanism to turn off the special meaning

       flags may also include any of the following, which are GNU extensions
       and not defined by POSIX.2:

              Allow a leading period to be matched by metacharacters.  By
              default, metacharacters can't match a leading period.

              Use alternative functions pglob->gl_closedir, pglob->gl_read‐
              dir, pglob->gl_opendir, pglob->gl_lstat, and pglob->gl_stat
              for filesystem access instead of the normal library functions.

              Expand csh(1) style brace expressions of the form {a,b}.
              Brace expressions can be nested.  Thus, for example, specify‐
              ing the pattern "{foo/{,cat,dog},bar}" would return the same
              results as four separate glob() calls using the strings:
              "foo/", "foo/cat", "foo/dog", and "bar".

              If the pattern contains no metacharacters, then it should be
              returned as the sole matching word, even if there is no file
              with that name.

              Carry out tilde expansion.  If a tilde ('~') is the only char‐
              acter in the pattern, or an initial tilde is followed immedi‐
              ately by a slash ('/'), then the home directory of the caller
              is substituted for the tilde.  If an initial tilde is followed
              by a username (e.g., "~andrea/bin"), then the tilde and user‐
              name are substituted by the home directory of that user.  If
              the username is invalid, or the home directory cannot be de‐
              termined, then no substitution is performed.

              This provides behavior similar to that of GLOB_TILDE.  The
              difference is that if the username is invalid, or the home di‐
              rectory cannot be determined, then instead of using the pat‐
              tern itself as the name, glob() returns GLOB_NOMATCH to indi‐
              cate an error.

              This is a hint to glob() that the caller is interested only in
              directories that match the pattern.  If the implementation can
              easily determine file-type information, then nondirectory
              files are not returned to the caller.  However, the caller
              must still check that returned files are directories.  (The
              purpose of this flag is merely to optimize performance when
              the caller is interested only in directories.)

       If errfunc is not NULL, it will be called in case of an error with
       the arguments epath, a pointer to the path which failed, and eerrno,
       the value of errno as returned from one of the calls to opendir(3),
       readdir(3), or stat(2).  If errfunc returns nonzero, or if GLOB_ERR
       is set, glob() will terminate after the call to errfunc.

       Upon successful return, pglob->gl_pathc contains the number of
       matched pathnames and pglob->gl_pathv contains a pointer to the list
       of pointers to matched pathnames.  The list of pointers is terminated
       by a null pointer.

       It is possible to call glob() several times.  In that case, the
       GLOB_APPEND flag has to be set in flags on the second and later invo‐

       As a GNU extension, pglob->gl_flags is set to the flags specified,
       ored with GLOB_MAGCHAR if any metacharacters were found.

RETURN VALUE         top

       On successful completion, glob() returns zero.  Other possible
       returns are:

              for running out of memory,

              for a read error, and

              for no found matches.

ATTRIBUTES         top

       For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see

       │Interface  Attribute     Value                    │
       │glob()     │ Thread safety │ MT-Unsafe race:utent env │
       │           │               │ sig:ALRM timer locale    │
       │globfree() │ Thread safety │ MT-Safe                  │
       In the above table, utent in race:utent signifies that if any of the
       functions setutent(3), getutent(3), or endutent(3) are used in
       parallel in different threads of a program, then data races could
       occur.  glob() calls those functions, so we use race:utent to remind

CONFORMING TO         top

       POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008, POSIX.2.

NOTES         top

       The structure elements gl_pathc and gl_offs are declared as size_t in
       glibc 2.1, as they should be according to POSIX.2, but are declared
       as int in glibc 2.0.

BUGS         top

       The glob() function may fail due to failure of underlying function
       calls, such as malloc(3) or opendir(3).  These will store their error
       code in errno.

EXAMPLES         top

       One example of use is the following code, which simulates typing

           ls -l *.c ../*.c

       in the shell:

           glob_t globbuf;

           globbuf.gl_offs = 2;
           glob("*.c", GLOB_DOOFFS, NULL, &globbuf);
           glob("../*.c", GLOB_DOOFFS | GLOB_APPEND, NULL, &globbuf);
           globbuf.gl_pathv[0] = "ls";
           globbuf.gl_pathv[1] = "-l";
           execvp("ls", &globbuf.gl_pathv[0]);

SEE ALSO         top

       ls(1), sh(1), stat(2), exec(3), fnmatch(3), malloc(3), opendir(3),
       readdir(3), wordexp(3), glob(7)

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of release 5.09 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the
       latest version of this page, can be found at

GNU                              2020-06-09                          GLOB(3)

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