Find Command Syntax

Drew Tomlinson drew at
Wed Sep 22 15:48:01 PDT 2004

On 9/22/2004 11:23 AM Matthew Seaman wrote:

>On Wed, Sep 22, 2004 at 10:47:38AM -0700, Drew Tomlinson wrote:
>>OK, I'm trying to understand the difference.  According to the manual 
>>-ctime is "change of file status" and -mtime is "last modification 
>>time".  I think I understand what modification means (changing the 
>>contents of the file) but what is "change of file status"?  In my 
>>particular situation, while reviewing my spam folder for possible "ham", 
>>my IMAP client may change the message status from unread to read.  How 
>>would this affect the actual message file?
>The ctime entry (originally 'creation time') used to be intended to
>record when the file was created.  Nowadays it records the last time
>the inode for the file changed -- that includes such things as changes
>to file permissions, ACLs, option flags etc., but not such things as
>modifications to the file contents which don't change the file size a
>great deal.
>This status has nothing to do with what your IMAP client reports as
>the file status.  The ctime concept applies to any file on the system,
>no matter what it's used for.  IMAP status just records or modifies an
>extra header within the message to indicate if it's been read or not.
>Thus reading those messages via IMAP might change mtime but not
>ctime. However, I'm not certain of that.  You'll have to experiment.
>You can print out the ctime and mtime for the files by:
>    % stat -f 'ctime=%Sc mtime=%Sm   %N' -t '%c' *
>Usually mtime and ctime will be exactly the same.
>	Cheers,
>	Matthew
Thank you very much for the explanation.  I will use your stat example 
and do some investigating.


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