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A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® 8 by Mark G. Sobell

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Filename Generation/Pathname Expansion

When you give the shell abbreviated filenames that contain special characters, also called metacharacters, the shell can generate filenames that match the names of existing files. These special characters are also referred to as wildcards because they act as the jokers do in a deck of cards. When one of these special characters appears in an argument on the command line, the shell expands that argument in sorted order (refer to “LC_COLLATE” on page 1431) into a list of filenames and passes the list to the program that the command line calls. Filenames that contain these special characters are called ambiguous file references because they do not refer to any one specific file. The process that the shell performs ...

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