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Are there any Linux/Unix tools which find all the files in one directory not present in another? Basically I'm looking for diff which works on the output of ls.

Short and sweet scripts are also appreciated.

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diff does this already:

diff dir1 dir2

Example output:

Only in dir1: some_file.txt
Only in dir1: some_other_file.txt
Only in dir2: third_file.txt
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This is good. One gripe: diff is actually running on each of the files that are in both. Is there an obscure option to just run against file names (I may have missed it)? Otherwise, I suggest diff dir1 dir2 | grep "Only" – Willi Ballenthin Sep 1 '10 at 16:12


diff <(cd dir1; ls) <(cd dir2; ls)

Compare only the filenames - not the contents of the files.

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Also ksh and zsh. – Dennis Williamson Sep 1 '10 at 18:37

Like people told you here, you can use DIFF in various usage variations. Or you just use dirdiff instead, which is meant for what you're trying! :-)

But if you want to keep some directories in sync then you really should take a look on rsync.


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This works..

ls -a1 /dir1 | sort > /tmp/1
ls -a1 /dir2 | sort > /tmp/2
diff /tmp/1 /tmp/2
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find /dir/A -printf "%P" | while read f; do
  if [ ! -e "/dir/B/$f" ]; then
    echo $f
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for i in $(ls -1 directory1); do if (test -f directory2/$i) then echo $i; fi; done

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