[Pdx-pm] command line question

Eric Wilhelm ewilhelm at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jul 12 16:27:43 CDT 2004

# The following was supposedly scribed by
# Colin Kuskie
# on Monday 12 July 2004 04:16 pm:

>The original perl distribution used to include a program called rename
>that allowed you to pass a line of perl code that would modify each
>filename in any way you want.

Debian still does this (it's in the 'perl' package.)  Redhat had a compiled 
'rename' which used a different pattern language

I prefer the regex-based pattern expression.


$cat `which rename`
#!/usr/bin/perl -w
#  This script was developed by Robin Barker (Robin.Barker at npl.co.uk),
#  from Larry Wall's original script eg/rename from the perl source.
#  This script is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
#  under the same terms as Perl itself.
# Larry(?)'s RCS header:
#  RCSfile: rename,v   Revision: 4.1   Date: 92/08/07 17:20:30
# $RCSfile: rename,v $$Revision: 1.5 $$Date: 1998/12/18 16:16:31 $
# $Log: rename,v $
# Revision 1.5  1998/12/18 16:16:31  rmb1
# moved to perl/source
# changed man documentation to POD
# Revision 1.4  1997/02/27  17:19:26  rmb1
# corrected usage string
# Revision 1.3  1997/02/27  16:39:07  rmb1
# added -v
# Revision 1.2  1997/02/27  16:15:40  rmb1
# *** empty log message ***
# Revision 1.1  1997/02/27  15:48:51  rmb1
# Initial revision

use strict;

use Getopt::Long;

my ($verbose, $no_act, $force, $op);

die "Usage: rename [-v] [-n] [-f] perlexpr [filenames]\n"
    unless GetOptions(
        'v|verbose' => \$verbose,
        'n|no-act'  => \$no_act,
        'f|force'   => \$force,
    ) and $op = shift;

$verbose++ if $no_act;

if (!@ARGV) {
    print "reading filenames from STDIN\n" if $verbose;
    @ARGV = <STDIN>;

for (@ARGV) {
    my $was = $_;
    eval $op;
    die $@ if $@;
    next if $was eq $_; # ignore quietly
    if (-e $_ and !$force)
        warn  "$was not renamed: $_ already exists\n";
    elsif ($no_act or rename $was, $_)
        print "$was renamed as $_\n" if $verbose;
        warn  "Can't rename $was $_: $!\n";


=head1 NAME

rename - renames multiple files


B<rename> S<[ B<-v> ]> S<[ B<-n> ]> S<[ B<-f> ]> I<perlexpr> S<[ I<files> ]>


renames the filenames supplied according to the rule specified as the
first argument.
The I<perlexpr>
argument is a Perl expression which is expected to modify the C<$_>
string in Perl for at least some of the filenames specified.
If a given filename is not modified by the expression, it will not be
If no filenames are given on the command line, filenames will be read
via standard input.

For example, to rename all files matching C<*.bak> to strip the extension,
you might say

        rename 's/\.bak$//' *.bak

To translate uppercase names to lower, you'd use

        rename 'y/A-Z/a-z/' *

=head1 OPTIONS

=over 8

=item B<-v>, B<--verbose>

Verbose: print names of files successfully renamed.

=item B<-n>, B<--no-act>

No Action: show what files would have been renamed.

=item B<-f>, B<--force>

Force: overwrite existing files.



No environment variables are used.

=head1 AUTHOR

Larry Wall

=head1 SEE ALSO

mv(1), perl(1)


If you give an invalid Perl expression you'll get a syntax error.

=head1 BUGS

The original C<rename> did not check for the existence of target filenames,
so had to be used with care.  I hope I've fixed that (Robin Barker).


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