find behaviour differs depending on directory

Kevin P. Fleming kpfleming at
Fri Aug 27 10:09:46 PDT 2004

Laurens Blankers wrote:

> [laurensb at beta] </usr/src/linux-> find -name *.ko


> [laurens at beta] </usr/src/linux-> find -name *.ko
> find: paths must precede expression
> Usage: find [path...] [expression]

You are using incorrect syntax. The first example works because the 
directory you are in does not contain any *.ko files, so when the shell 
(bash) tries to expand *.ko into a filename list it can't, so "*.ko" is 
passed to find verbatim.

The second example fails because the directory _does_ contain *.ko 
files, so your command is turned into:

find -name foo1.ko foo2.ko foo3.ko .... etc.

This happens because you didn't "protect" the asterisk character by 
quoting it, so the shell is processing it, not the find command.

To do what you want, you should use:

find -name \*.ko

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