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  1. #1
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    STL, USA

    Question Do trailing slashes or leading dot-slashes ever matter?

    ls mydir
    ls ./mydir
    ls mydir/
    ls ./mydir/
    cp xxx mydir
    cp xxx ./mydir/


  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast sgosnell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Baja Oklahoma
    AFAIK the only time you need the ./ is when you want to run an executable file in the current directory. ./ tells bash to look in the current directory for a command instead of looking in the path. If you want to copy to the current directory, just use the period, not the slash, as in
    cp xxx .
    Using ls you don't need anything, because the default, with no other modifiers, is to list the contents of the current directory.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru Cabhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Seattle, WA, USA
    They can affect things.

    sgosnell discusses the "./" prefix: it can sometimes change a bareword into a relative path, and this is used, for example:
    ls # Run the standard "ls" command (probably /bin/ls)
    ./ls # Run a program called "ls" in the current directory
    bin/ls # Run a program caled "ls" in the bin/ directory
    ./bin/ls # Same as above
    For the case of a trailing slash, this can sometimes matter. A pretty standard example of this is for symlinks to directories:
    [alex@niamh ~]$ ls -l test_symlink # List the symlink itself
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 alex users 4 Oct 23 23:45 test_symlink -> test
    [alex@niamh ~]$ ls -l test_symlink/ # List the contents of the link target dir
    total 12
    drwxr-xr-x 2 alex users 4096 Oct 22 10:45 c
    drwxr-xr-x 2 alex users 4096 Oct 22 10:45 perl
    drwxr-xr-x 2 alex users 4096 Oct 22 10:45 ruby

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