Ubuntu – Whitespace Problems With Script and Variables

bashcommand linescripts

I'm trying to beat my head against the syntax of this. I'm getting problems with whitespaces and I can't see if there's a better way to do this.

vardir=/home/user
cd $vardir
for i in $(ls "$vardir") ; do
timestamp="$(stat -c %Y $i)"
echo "$i"
echo "$timestamp"

done

Result is similar no matter where I quote and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong:

stat: cannot stat ‘Temporary’: No such file or directory
Temporary

stat: cannot stat ‘Items’: No such file or directory
Items

My goal is I want to grab the timestamps off of backup directories and touch the current ones to restore the original modified dates.

Best Answer

As other people said before me: Don’t parse the output of ls!

Why not simply:

stat --printf='%y\t%n\n' -- *

If you want to do something with each file name and time stamp, read the output of stat like this:

stat --printf='%y\t%n\0' -- * | \
while IFS=$'\t' read -rd '' timestamp i; do
    echo "filename: ${i}, timestamp: ${timestamp}"
done

No need to spawn a new stat process for every file, which you'll notice as soon as you spawn a few hundred processes for a few hundred files.

For more complicated matches than simple globbing, I recommend find with a suitable -printf option.

Edit: As per the comments to this answer, I found out that OP actually wants to copy the modification time stamps from files of one directory to another. This is what I suggest:

for f in /source/dir/*; do
    touch -c -r "${f}" "/dest/dir/${f##*/}"
done

This takes all entries from /source/dir as time stamp references (-r) for entries of the same file name in /dest/dir without creating new files that don't exist in /dest/dir yet (-c).