globfree - Linux


globfree is a command used to perform filename pattern matching and wildcard expansion. It evaluates shell globs and patterns and outputs a list of matching files and directories. Globs are expressions that match files based on criteria such as name, extension, or modification time.


globfree [-a] [-cdfglLmrR] [-f <format>] [-i <in-path>] [-o <out-path>] [-p <in-file>] [-w <out-file>] [-z <separator>] [<glob-pattern>]


  • -a: Do not sort output.
  • -c: Count matching files instead of printing names.
  • -d: Match directories only.
  • -f : Specify output format for each line (options: ‘%p’, ‘%f’, ‘%L’, ‘%N’).
  • -g: Ignore case when matching.
  • -i : Read globs from a file.
  • -l: List paths in long format.
  • -L: Follow symbolic links.
  • -m: Allow multiple matches per line.
  • -o : Write output to a file.
  • -p : Read input from a file.
  • -r: Match recursively.
  • -R: Resolve symbolic links.
  • -w : Write output to a file (symlink safe).
  • -z : Specify output separator (default: newline).


Simple pattern matching

globfree *.txt

Outputs a list of all files ending with ".txt".

Complex pattern matching

globfree -i glob-patterns.txt | grep -v 'readme.txt' | xargs rm

Reads glob patterns from a file, excludes "readme.txt", and deletes matching files.

Counting matching files

globfree -c *.txt

Outputs the number of files ending with ".txt".

Common Issues

  • No output: Ensure that the glob pattern matches existing files. Check for typos or incorrect paths.
  • Unexpected output: Verify the output format using the -f option. Use -a to disable sorting and see the exact matches.
  • Permission denied: Ensure that you have the necessary permissions to access the specified files.


  • Shell scripts: Use globfree to perform wildcard expansion and dynamically generate lists of files for processing.
  • Find command: Combine globfree with find for advanced pattern matching and filtering.
  • xargs command: Pipe the output of globfree to xargs to execute commands on matching files.

Related Commands

  • find(1) – Search for files based on criteria
  • xargs(1) – Execute commands on input lines
  • bash(1) – Command shell with glob matching support