Problems with filename with spaces (was Pipes and commands thatrequire two arguments)

Peter Risdon peter at
Tue Apr 13 03:29:18 PDT 2004

Thanks very much for the previous help - I missed the example in man xargs.

The files I am trying to manipulate include spaces in the file names, 
and I cannot seem to escape them effectively. If I try something like:

#find /usr/home -name *.rtf.exe -print0 | perl -p -e 's/\ /\\\ /g;' | 
xargs -0 -J % mv % /usr/newplace/

Then although all spaces are preceded by backslashes I get errors every 
time a space is encountered. So for a file at /usr/home/user/this is a 
file.rtf.exe I get file does not exist errors from mv at:
and at:
and at:
and at:
file.rtf.exe (yes, a windows virus on a network share has been busy).

I have also tried

#find /usr/home -name *.rtf.exe -print0 | perl -p -e 's/\ /\\\ /g;' > 

and the list is fine. If I paste a line into mv on the command line, it 
works. If I use a simple script to read the file, same errors as 
mentioned above.

I'm sure I'm missing something obvious... Any nudges in the right 
direction would be gratefully received.


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