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I need to assemble a lot of images into one directory. Many of those images have the same file names.

Is there some safe version of mv that will automatically rename files if the target filename already exists so that pic1.jpeg becomes something like pic1_2.jpeg?

I could write my own python script but there has to be something like this out there so I can do:

find . -type f -name *.jpg -exec mvsafe '{}' /targetpath/ \;
43

mv already supports this out of the box (at least in Debian):

mv --backup=t <source_file> <dest_file>

As seen in mv(1) manpage:

--backup[=CONTROL]
         make a backup of each existing destination file

The  backup  suffix  is  `~',  unless  set  with   --suffix   or   SIM‐
PLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX.   The version control method may be selected via the
--backup option or through the  VERSION_CONTROL  environment  variable.

To make --backup=t mean "make numbered backups", invoke as follows:

env VERSION_CONTROL=numbered mv --backup=t <source_file> <dest_file>

(dest_file can of course be a directory).

Edit: in later versions (at least GNU coreutils 8.22 but prolly already much earlier) you can simply write

mv --backup=numbered <source_file> <dest_file>
| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    +1 for an amazingly clean solution. BTW the option is present on RHEL 6 too. – Paweł Brodacki May 7 '11 at 12:32
  • While nice functionality, this does not really help that much in my case since it will append the suffix after the extension, so the files will end up with names like .jpg~1~ while I would need them to be named _1.jpg. I will probably use mmv to rename the files after moving them. – theduke May 7 '11 at 16:11
  • 5
    this is the mmv command that will achieve my desired result after doing mv --backup=numbered: mmv -v "..~*~" "#1_#3.#2" – theduke May 7 '11 at 16:21
  • On my Debian system (mmv 1.01b-18), the correct mmv command is: mmv -v "*.*~*~" "#1_#3.#2" – Xavier Jun 19 '15 at 9:12

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