[blfs-support] Comment/Question/Flame on "probably the most used admin tool", 'find'

alex lupu alupu01 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 7 13:02:43 PST 2013

Hi everybody:

WARNING - this is a lengthy post.  Can be safely skipped.

In my previous posts, I expressed my puzzlement/sadness about a construct

# Gimme the files modified in the range between n and m minutes ago
find -mmin -n -mmin +m

not working for me.

As always, Bruce showed me that a problem (any problem) is with me and not
with the system.

However, I'd had a nagging suspicion about my problem being related to the
change (and not really with me, in _this_ particular case) so I decided to
pursue the subject further.
Now I think I know more.  I'm a little late with the results but I was busy
with some other nonsense lately.  I apologize for the tardiness.

FWIW, here it is the full story, in gory details.

In truth, I didn't use the 'find' construct above "nakedly".  It's actually
at the end
of a bash wrapper where I first convert dates and times to minutes ago, and
then, finally, I plug into the 'find' line the "n" and "m" numbers.

This wrapper, "findfiles", started failing on me, kinda all of a sudden
the initial, not well thought-out, stream-of-consciousness post):

[]% ls -l temp1.txt
 2013-11-04 18:26 temp1.txt

[]% findfiles 2013-11-04 18:25 18:27
 2013-11-04 18:26 temp1.txt                      # OK

[]% ls -l temp2.txt
 2013-11-03 18:26 temp2.txt
[]% findfiles 2013-11-03 18:25 18:27
                                                 # no output

[]% findfiles 2013-11-03 19:25 19:27             # but with "19:25 19:27" ?!
 2013-11-03 18:26 temp2.txt                      # OK ????

I think I have the whole story finally, still not pretty, not easy to deal
and not really 'find's fault, but at least I can present it for all to

I've written a little "demo" applet, "hrs2date" (in the spirit of my wrapper
mentioned) which gives you the hours (NOT minutes;  for clarity) from this
moment to a past midnight date.
It's shown at the bottom (like for a top post - might be frowned on by
many;  sorry)
very straightforward, no error checking, as simple as I could think of
(I could've written the whole programme in Haskell but I thought better of
it -
especially as I don't know anything about the language;  however, I'm
Haskell handles time changes automatically - behind the scenes - in stride,
like anything else).

"hrs2date" is in the public domain so it can be viewed, used, modified,
out the window, etc., by anybody - including my friends.

A sample output:

[]% date
Thu Nov  7 13:05:10 EST 2013
[]% hrs2date 2013-11-07
toDATEhrs = 13
[]% hrs2date 2013-11-06
toDATEhrs = 37
[]% hrs2date 2013-11-05
toDATEhrs = 61
[]% hrs2date 2013-11-04
toDATEhrs = 85
[]% hrs2date 2013-11-03
toDATEhrs = 110                 # Oops!   110 - 85 = 25, NOT 24 !!!
[]% hrs2date 2013-11-02
toDATEhrs = 134

Note:  the time change (DST to EST) was effected at 2AM, Nov. 3 here,
whereby everybody had to move their clocks one hour back - like to 1AM.

The problem I see is with this crazy time-change habit the world got into
This makes it more difficult to compute time (in minutes) to an event if
there was a time change somewhere (as we all have read in the press, some
people also complain about medical problems related to this back and forth
time changes;  I'm fine in this respect.  Or am I? ).
BTW, I strongly suspect global warming has something to do with the problem
as well and, as a consequence, will make it worse if we refuse to do
about it.  But I leave that for the scientists to make the final decision.

Unfortunately, unless somebody can give me a SIMPLE ("if" - type) formula
accounts for a time change in my little bash wrapper, I'll do the
calculations with pencil and paper like in the old days from now on.

An apologetic,

# hrs2date
if [ "$1" == "" ]; then
  # for people who didn't read my post
  echo "Enter a date (yyyy-mm-dd)" ; exit 2


NOWsecs=`date +%s`                   # This moment (in sec. since Jan. 1,
DATEsecs=`date -d $DATE +%s`         # DATE's seconds since Jan. 1, 1970

toDATEsecs=$(( $NOWsecs - $DATEsecs ))
toDATEhrs=$(( $toDATEsecs / 3600 ))                     # damn the minutes.

echo toDATEhrs = $toDATEhrs
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