Q. I’m new to Linux. We have a backup server and most our developer sftp or ftp and upload files to our server. I just need backup of last 4 weeks. So if I try to list or remove directory I get an error cannot remove directory.
So my question is why am I getting an "Argument list too long" error message when executing some commands in the shell?
A. Each command under Linux/UNIX accepts a parameter commonly known as command arguments (or args).
For example, the command cd /etc is considered as 1 command line arguments, namely, /etc. Some command can accept more than 2 argument and act on supplied args. For example cp command:
$ cp /etc/file1 /etc/file2 /etc/file3 /mnt/pen
cp command has total 4 command line arguments. The shell can hold a maximum of 131072 bytes for command line arguments. If you try to pass more than that number you will greeted with an error that read as follows:
Argument list too long
Remember each character requires one byte of storage.
How do I get rid of this problem while using rm / ls or any other shell command?
The best way to deal with this problem is to use wild cards. For example, just list a directory starting with a character:
$ ls a*
$ rm a*
You can also use for loop to deal with group of files:
for fileset in a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t v w x z do /bin/rm $fileset* done
- 30 Handy Bash Shell Aliases For Linux / Unix / Mac OS X
- Top 30 Nmap Command Examples For Sys/Network Admins
- 25 PHP Security Best Practices For Sys Admins
- 20 Linux System Monitoring Tools Every SysAdmin Should Know
- 20 Linux Server Hardening Security Tips
- Linux: 20 Iptables Examples For New SysAdmins
- Top 20 OpenSSH Server Best Security Practices
- Top 20 Nginx WebServer Best Security Practices
- 20 Examples: Make Sure Unix / Linux Configuration Files Are Free From Syntax Errors
- 15 Greatest Open Source Terminal Applications Of 2012
- My 10 UNIX Command Line Mistakes
- Top 10 Open Source Web-Based Project Management Software
- Top 5 Email Client For Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows Users
- The Novice Guide To Buying A Linux Laptop