Directory and file comparison tool for X?

Ian Smith smithi at
Sat Jun 10 16:36:52 UTC 2006

On Sat, 10 Jun 2006, Norberto Meijome wrote:

 > On Fri, 9 Jun 2006 20:56:17 +1000 (EST)
 > Ian Smith <smithi at> wrote:

 > >  > I'm looking for a tool that will allow me to compare directories
 > >  > (recursively) showing what files are different,etc. meld ( textproc/meld )
 > >  > can do this to some extent, showing missing files,etc, but not showing
 > >  > what files are different withoug having to open each file and do a diff.
 > > 
 > > Well of course 'diff -r dir1 dir2 | less' does that well in an xterm :)
 > > 
 > yeah, but it's just way too verbose. something that allows very quick
 > determination of differences / missing files, transfer them from one tree to
 > another,etc. Specially for LARGE trees.

A job for rsync, perhaps, if you want to automatically syncronise the
trees, rather than just review the diffs?  (caveat: I know very close to
nothing about rsync, beyond having reading its man xty-x times :)

 > > But I guess you're after a more pointy clicky solution :)
 > not because of point+click per se, but yes for faster overview of things.

I recall a wonderful OS/2 tool for this purpose .. ahem, moving on .. 

 > > % diff bittorrent/ bittorrent2/
 > > diff bittorrent/differingfile bittorrent2/differingfile
 > > 1,2c1,3
 > > < this one in bittorrent dir
 > yeah.. i tried this with 2 src trees with over 1.2 K  files each... it was way
 > too much to digest quickly :D

Ok, my last shot with good ol' diff, on the same filesets (this is news
to me too; I haven't explored many of the diff options much before): 

% diff -rq bittorrent/ bittorrent2/
Files bittorrent/differingfile and bittorrent2/differingfile differ
Only in bittorrent2/: not_in_1
Only in bittorrent/: not_in_2

For moving files between two trees, looks like a bit of scripting on -q
(--brief) output may get you there? Hopefully someone has a better idea? 

cheers, Ian

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