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LOCATE(1) General Commands Manual LOCATE(1)

NAME

locatefind filenames quickly

SYNOPSIS

locate [-bciS] [-d database] [-l limit] pattern ...

DESCRIPTION

The locate utility searches a database for all pathnames which match the specified pattern. The database is recomputed periodically (usually weekly or daily), and contains the pathnames of all files which are publicly accessible.
Shell globbing and quoting characters (‘*’, ‘?’, ‘\’, ‘[’, and ‘]’) may be used in pattern, although they will have to be escaped from the shell. Preceding any character with a backslash (‘\’) eliminates any special meaning which it may have. The matching differs in that no characters must be matched explicitly, including slashes (‘/’).
As a special case, a pattern containing no globbing characters (“foo”) is matched as though it were “*foo*”.
Historically, locate stores only characters between 32 and 127. The current implementation stores all characters except newline (‘\n’) and NUL (‘\0’). The 8-bit character support does not waste extra space for plain ASCII file names. Characters less than 32 or greater than 127 are stored as 2 bytes.
The options are as follows:
 
 
-b
For each entry in the database, perform the search on the last component of path.
 
 
-c
Suppress normal output; instead print a count of matching file names.
 
 
-d database
Search in database instead of the default file name database. Multiple -d options are allowed. Each additional -d option adds the specified database to the list of databases to be searched.
database may be a colon-separated list of databases. An empty database name is a reference to the default database.
$ locate -d $HOME/lib/mydb: foo
will first search for the string “foo” in $HOME/lib/mydb and then in /var/db/locate.database.
$ locate -d $HOME/lib/mydb::/cdrom/locate.database foo
will first search for the string “foo” in $HOME/lib/mydb and then in /var/db/locate.database and then in /cdrom/locate.database.
$ locate -d db1 -d db2 -d db3 pattern
is the same as
$ locate -d db1:db2:db3 pattern
or
$ locate -d db1:db2 -d db3 pattern
 
 
-i
Ignore case distinctions in both the pattern and the database.
 
 
-l limit
Limit output to a specific number of files and exit.
 
 
-S
Print some statistics about the database and exit.

ENVIRONMENT

LOCATE_PATH
Path to the locate database if set and not empty; ignored if the -d option was specified.

FILES

/etc/weekly
script that starts the database rebuild
/usr/libexec/locate.updatedb
script to update the locate database
/var/db/locate.database
locate database

SEE ALSO

find(1), fnmatch(3), locate.updatedb(8), weekly(8)
Woods, James A., Finding Files Fast, ;login, 8:1, pp. 8-10, 1983.

HISTORY

The locate command appeared in 4.4BSD.

BUGS

locate may fail to list some files that are present, or may list files that have been removed from the system. This is because locate only reports files that are present in a periodically reconstructed database (typically rebuilt once a week by the weekly(8) script). Use find(1) to locate files that are of a more transitory nature.
The locate database is built by user “nobody” using find(1). This will skip directories which are not readable by user “nobody”, group “nobody”, or the world. E.g., if your home directory is not world-readable, your files will not appear in the database.
The locate database is not byte order independent. It is not possible to share the databases between machines with different byte order. The current locate implementation understands databases in host byte order or network byte order. So a little-endian machine can't understand a locate database which was built on a big-endian machine.
October 23, 2015 OpenBSD-current