Globbing is the procedure of

  • matching all filenames against a given pattern
  • expanding to all matching filenames

Unlike MSDOS, where the called program had to interpret the patterns, the globbing on UNIX® is done by the shell, the matched filenames are given as parameters to a called command:

$ cat *.txt
really executes
$ cat 1.txt 3.txt foobar.txt XXX.txt

The term "glob" originates back in the UNIX® days where an executable glob (from "global") existed which was used to expand pattern-matching characters. Later, this functionality was built into the shell. There's still a library function called glob() (POSIX®), which serves the same purpose.

See also

See also (article)


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