Filenames with blanks

Wayne Davison wayned at
Sat Aug 24 12:08:01 EST 2002

On Sat, 24 Aug 2002, Ivan kovalev wrote:
> Still, I am not sure if I understand your suggestion. Looks like you are
> saying: have output from COM like this:
> /a/b/c d
> /a/b/efg
> May be each line quoted.

No.  Quotes are completely irrelevant since the shell is _only_ doing
word-splitting, not arg parsing as the final step before sending the
args to rsync.

In other words:

    `echo 'this is a command'`

Turns into 4 separate args no matter what characters you add.  No amount
of quoting, backslashing of spaces, or any other character additions
will affect this because the only thing that backtick does is split the
output on whitespace (using the contents of $IFS as the list of
characters to use for the splitting).

If you could change the IFS environment-variable value that the remote
shell was using *when it was parsing the backticks* and make it have
only a newline in it, that would cause the backticks to only split args
on lines and not spaces, which is exactly what you want.  However, I see
no easy way to get the remote shell into that mode (unless you can
figure out some way to have the startup scripts conditionally set IFS
based on the command that is about to run).

In zsh and bash, the syntax $(...) is often a better way to say `...` in
complex commands (since it's easily nestable).  Both shells let you say
this (adding double quotes):

    "$(ls -1)"

This causes the whole output to be put into a single arg without any
word-splitting.  However, we need the output split on newlines, so in
zsh, this is trivial using the 'f' modifier (which is easier than saying
"ps:\n:" -- i.e. split on newlines).  In other words, using this in zsh
works perfectly:

    ${(f)"$(ls -1)"}

instead of this, which splits on too much whitespace:

    `ls -1`

I have no idea if bash has a way to selectively split args into multiple
args (assuming you use bash).  This splitting has to be a shell-level
construct because we have to turn output into args as the last step.

If you feel like stepping up to what I consider to be the best shell
around, feel free to give zsh 4.x a try.  It has the best commandline
completion I've ever seen (though it's not on by default), and it has
all the amenities that a bash user would expect and then some.  You'll
find everything you need to check it out here:

If you're not that adventurous, maybe someone else who knows bash (or
whatever shell you're using) could mention if this is possible.


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