Monday, September 3, 2007

File Test Operators

A file test. This unary operator takes one argument, either a filename or a filehandle, and tests the associated file to see if something is true about it. If the argument is omitted, tests $_, except for -t, which tests STDIN. It returns 1 for true and '' for false, or the undefined value if the file doesn't exist. Precedence is higher than logical and relational operators, but lower than arithmetic operators. The operator may be any of:

-r File is readable by effective uid/gid.
-w File is writable by effective uid/gid.
-x File is executable by effective uid/gid.
-o File is owned by effective uid.
-R File is readable by real uid/gid.
-W File is writable by real uid/gid.
-X File is executable by real uid/gid.
-O File is owned by real uid.
-e File exists.
-z File has zero size.
-s File has non-zero size (returns size).
-f File is a plain file.
-d File is a directory.
-l File is a symbolic link.
-p File is a named pipe (FIFO).
-S File is a socket.
-b File is a block special file.
-c File is a character special file.
-u File has setuid bit set.
-g File has setgid bit set.
-k File has sticky bit set.
-t Filehandle is opened to a tty.
-T File is a text file.
-B File is a binary file (opposite of -T).
-M Age of file in days when script started.
-A Same for access time.
-C Same for inode change time.

The interpretation of the file permission operators -r, -R, -w, -W, -x and -X is based solely on the mode of the file and the uids and gids of the user. There may be other reasons you can't actually read, write or execute the file. Also note that, for the superuser, -r, -R, -w and -W always return 1, and -x and -X return 1 if any execute bit is set in the mode. Scripts run by the superuser may thus need to do a stat() in order to determine the actual mode of the file, or temporarily set the uid to something else.


while (<>) {
next unless -f $_; # ignore specials

Note that -s/a/b/ does not do a negated substitution. Saying -exp($foo) still works as expected, however--only single letters following a minus are interpreted as file tests.

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