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APPLY(1) General Commands Manual APPLY(1)

apply
apply a command to a set of arguments

apply [-#] [-d] [-a magic] command argument ...

apply runs the named command on each given argument in turn.

Character sequences of the form “%d” in command, where ‘d’ is a digit from 1 to 9, are replaced by the d'th following unused argument. In this case, the largest digit number of arguments are discarded for each execution of command.

The options are as follows:

-#
Normally arguments are taken singly; the optional number -# specifies the number of arguments to be passed to command. If the number is zero, command is run, without arguments, once for each argument.

If any sequences of “%d” occur in command, the -# option is ignored.

magic
Use magic as the magic character instead of the default ‘%’.
Debug mode. Print commands to the standard output but do not actually execute them.

Pathname of shell to use. If this variable is not defined, the Bourne shell is used.

/bin/sh
default shell

Operate similar to ls(1):

$ apply echo *

Compare the a* files to the b* files:

$ apply -2 cmp a1 b1 a2 b2 a3 b3

Run who(1) five times:

$ apply -0 who 1 2 3 4 5

Link all files in the current directory to the directory /home/joe:

$ apply 'ln %1 /home/joe' *

sh(1), xargs(1)

The apply command appeared in 4.2BSD.

Rob Pike

Shell metacharacters in command may have bizarre effects; it is best to enclose complicated commands in single quotes ('').
September 8, 2014 OpenBSD-current