glob

/glob/, *not* /glohb/ To expand wild card characters in a path name.

In Unix the file name wild cards are:

 * = zero or more characters (E.g. {UN*X})

 ? = any single character

 [] any of the enclosed characters

 {} indicate alternation of comma-separated alternatives, thus
 foo{baz,qux} would expand to "foobaz" or "fooqux".  This
 syntax generates a list of all possible expansions, rather
 than matching one.

These have become sufficiently pervasive that hackers use them in written English, especially in electronic mail or Usenet news on technical topics. E.g. "He said his name was [KC]arl" (expresses ambiguity). "I don't read talk.politics.*" (any of the talk.politics subgroups on Usenet). Other examples are given under the entry for X. Note that glob patterns are similar, but not identical, to those used in regexps.

"glob" was a subprogram that expanded wild cards in archaic pre-Bourne versions of the Unix shell.

Last updated: 1997-07-16

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Copyright Denis Howe 1985

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