MirBSD manpage: glob(3), globfree(3)

GLOB(3)                    BSD Programmer's Manual                     GLOB(3)


     glob, globfree - generate pathnames matching a pattern


     #include <glob.h>

     glob(const char *pattern, int flags,
             int (*const errfunc)(const char *, int), glob_t *pglob);

     globfree(glob_t *pglob);

     glob_pattern_p(const char *pattern, int quote);


     The glob() function is a pathname generator that implements the rules for
     file name pattern matching used by the shell.

     The include file <glob.h> defines the structure type glob_t, which con-
     tains at least the following fields:

     typedef struct {
             size_t gl_pathc;        /* count of total paths so far */
             size_t gl_matchc;       /* count of paths matching pattern */
             size_t gl_offs;         /* reserved at beginning of gl_pathv */
             int gl_flags;           /* returned flags */
             char **gl_pathv;        /* list of paths matching pattern */
     } glob_t;

     The argument pattern is a pointer to a pathname pattern to be expanded.
     glob() matches all accessible pathnames against the pattern and creates a
     list of the pathnames that match. In order to have access to a pathname,
     glob() requires search permission on every component of a path except the
     last and read permission on each directory of any filename component of
     pattern that contains any of the special characters '*', '?', or '['.

     The number of matched pathnames is stored in the gl_pathc field, and a
     pointer to a list of pointers to pathnames in the gl_pathv field. The
     first pointer after the last pathname is NULL. If the pattern does not
     match any pathnames, the returned number of matched paths is set to zero.

     It is the caller's responsibility to create the structure pointed to by
     pglob. The glob() function allocates other space as needed, including the
     memory pointed to by gl_pathv.

     The argument flags is used to modify the behavior of glob(). The value of
     flags is the bitwise inclusive OR of any of the following values defined
     in <glob.h>:

     GLOB_APPEND      Append pathnames generated to the ones from a previous
                      call (or calls) to glob(). The value of gl_pathc will be
                      the total matches found by this call and the previous
                      call(s). The pathnames are appended to, not merged with
                      the pathnames returned by the previous call(s). Between
                      calls, the caller must not change the setting of the
                      GLOB_DOOFFS flag, nor change the value of gl_offs when
                      GLOB_DOOFFS is set, nor (obviously) call globfree() for

     GLOB_DOOFFS      Make use of the gl_offs field. If this flag is set,
                      gl_offs is used to specify how many null pointers to
                      prepend to the beginning of the gl_pathv field. In other
                      words, gl_pathv will point to gl_offs null pointers,
                      followed by gl_pathc pathname pointers, followed by a
                      null pointer.

     GLOB_ERR         Causes glob() to return when it encounters a directory
                      that it cannot open or read. Ordinarily, glob() contin-
                      ues to find matches.

     GLOB_MARK        Each pathname that is a directory that matches pattern
                      has a slash appended.

     GLOB_NOCHECK     If pattern does not match any pathname, then glob() re-
                      turns a list consisting of only pattern, with the number
                      of total pathnames set to 1, and the number of matched
                      pathnames set to 0.

     GLOB_NOESCAPE    Normally, every occurrence of a backslash ('\') followed
                      by a character in pattern is replaced by that character.
                      This is done to negate any special meaning for the char-
                      acter. If the GLOB_NOESCAPE flag is set, a backslash
                      character is treated as an ordinary character.

     GLOB_NOSORT      By default, the pathnames are sorted in ascending ASCII
                      order; this flag prevents that sorting (speeding up

     The following values may also be included in flags, however, they are
     non-standard extensions to IEEE Std 1003.2 ("POSIX.2").

     GLOB_ALTDIRFUNC  The following additional fields in the pglob structure
                      have been initialized with alternate functions for
                      glob() to use to open, read, and close directories and
                      to get stat information on names found in those direc-

                              void *(*gl_opendir)(const char *);
                              struct dirent *(*gl_readdir)(void *);
                              void (*gl_closedir)(void *);
                              int (*gl_lstat)(const char *, struct stat *);
                              int (*gl_stat)(const char *, struct stat *);

                      This extension is provided to allow programs such as
                      restore(8) to provide globbing from directories stored
                      on tape.

     GLOB_BRACE       Pre-process the pattern string to expand '{pat,pat,...}'
                      strings like csh(1). The pattern '{}' is left unexpanded
                      for historical reasons. (csh(1) does the same thing to
                      ease typing of find(1) patterns.)

     GLOB_KEEPSTAT    Retain a copy of the stat(2) information retrieved for
                      matching paths in the gl_statv array:

                            struct stat **gl_statv;

                      This option may be used to avoid lstat(2) lookups in
                      cases where they are expensive.

     GLOB_MAGCHAR     Set by the glob() function if the pattern included glob-
                      bing characters. See the description of the usage of the
                      gl_matchc structure member for more details.

     GLOB_NOMAGIC     Is the same as GLOB_NOCHECK but it only appends the
                      pattern if it does not contain any of the special char-
                      acters '*', '?', or '['. GLOB_NOMAGIC is provided to
                      simplify implementing the historic csh(1) globbing
                      behavior and should probably not be used anywhere else.

     GLOB_QUOTE       This option has no effect and is included for backwards
                      compatibility with older sources.

     GLOB_TILDE       Expand patterns that start with '~' to user name home

     GLOB_LIMIT       Limit the amount of memory used to store matched strings
                      to 64 KiB, the number of stat(2) calls to 2048, and the
                      number of readdir(3) calls to 16 KiB. This option should
                      be set for programs that can be coerced to a denial of
                      service attack via patterns that expand to a very large
                      number of matches, such as a long string of '*/../*/..'.

     GLOB_PERIOD      Allow metacharacters to match a leading period in a

     GLOB_NO_DOTDIRS  Hide '.' and '..' from metacharacter matches, regardless
                      of whether GLOB_PERIOD is set and whether the pattern
                      component begins with a literal period.

     If, during the search, a directory is encountered that cannot be opened
     or read and errfunc is non-null, glob() calls (*errfunc)(path, errno).
     This may be unintuitive: a pattern like "*/Makefile" will try to stat(2)
     "foo/Makefile" even if "foo" is not a directory, resulting in a call to
     errfunc. The error routine can suppress this action by testing for ENOENT
     and ENOTDIR; however, the GLOB_ERR flag will still cause an immediate re-
     turn when this happens.

     If errfunc returns non-zero, glob() stops the scan and returns
     GLOB_ABORTED after setting gl_pathc and gl_pathv to reflect any paths al-
     ready matched. This also happens if an error is encountered and GLOB_ERR
     is set in flags, regardless of the return value of errfunc, if called. If
     GLOB_ERR is not set and either errfunc is NULL or errfunc returns zero,
     the error is ignored.

     The globfree() function frees any space associated with pglob from a pre-
     vious call(s) to glob().

     The glob_pattern_p() returns 1 if the pattern has any special characters
     that glob() will interpret and 0 otherwise. If the quote argument is non-
     zero, then backslash quoted characters are ignored.


     On successful completion, glob() returns zero. In addition the fields of
     pglob contain the values described below:

     gl_pathc      Contains the total number of matched pathnames so far. This
                   includes other matches from previous invocations of glob()
                   if GLOB_APPEND was specified.

     gl_matchc     Contains the number of matched pathnames in the current in-
                   vocation of glob().

     gl_flags      Contains a copy of the flags parameter with the bit
                   GLOB_MAGCHAR set if pattern contained any of the special
                   characters '*', '?', or '[', cleared if not.

     gl_pathv      Contains a pointer to a null-terminated list of matched
                   pathnames. However, if gl_pathc is zero, the contents of
                   gl_pathv are undefined.

     gl_statv      If the GLOB_KEEPSTAT flag was set, gl_statv contains a
                   pointer to a null-terminated list of matched stat(2) ob-
                   jects corresponding to the paths in gl_pathc.

     If glob() terminates due to an error, it sets errno and returns one of
     the following non-zero constants, which are defined in the include file

     GLOB_NOSPACE  An attempt to allocate memory failed, or if errno was 0
                   GLOB_LIMIT was specified in the flags and ARG_MAX or more
                   patterns were matched.

     GLOB_ABORTED  The scan was stopped because an error was encountered and
                   either GLOB_ERR was set, or errfunc returned non-zero.

     GLOB_NOMATCH  The pattern did not match a pathname and GLOB_NOCHECK was
                   not set.

     GLOB_NOSYS    The requested function is not supported by this version of

     The arguments pglob->gl_pathc and pglob->gl_pathv are still set as speci-
     fied above.


     A rough equivalent of 'ls -l *.c *.h' can be obtained with the following

           glob_t g;

           g.gl_offs = 2;
           glob("*.c", GLOB_DOOFFS, NULL, &g);
           glob("*.h", GLOB_DOOFFS | GLOB_APPEND, NULL, &g);
           g.gl_pathv[0] = "ls";
           g.gl_pathv[1] = "-l";
           execvp("ls", g.gl_pathv);


     The glob() function may fail and set errno for any of the errors speci-
     fied for the library routines stat(2), closedir(3), opendir(3),
     readdir(3), malloc(3), and free(3).


     sh(1), fnmatch(3), regex(3), glob(7)


     The glob() function is expected to conform to IEEE Std 1003.2 ("POSIX.2")
     and X/Open Portability Guide Issue 4, Version 2 ("XPG4.2"). Note, howev-
     the fields gl_matchc, gl_statv and gl_flags should not be used by appli-
     cations striving for strict standards conformance.


     The glob() and globfree() functions first appeared in 4.4BSD. The
     glob_pattern_p() function is modelled after the one found in glibc. It
     arrived in MirBSD #11 via NetBSD.


     On systems other than OpenBSD, the LC_COLLATE locale(1) category can af-
     fect the sort order; see CAVEATS in setlocale(3) for details.


     Patterns longer than PATH_MAX may cause unchecked errors.

MirBSD #10-current             November 7, 2020                              3

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