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How can I delete files over (n) days old but leave (n) files regardless of age?

From: Monaco View: 2044 pQL7CmRP2i4 


I wrote the following in PHP but I was wondering if there is an elegant way to do this in a Linux shell script? Basically delete files over (n) days old, but leave the (n) newest files regardless of age.


    foreach (glob("backup/*.db") as $file) {
    foreach($a as $file=>$date) {
        if ($i++>=10) {
            if ($date<=date("Y-m-d",strtotime("-10 days"))) {
                xmessage("PURGED: $file");

My idea was to delete with "find -mtime +(n) exec rm" but only pipe in the files that are NOT in "head -n +(n)"? But "head -n" does not seem to do what I thought it would. Thanks.


find -mtime +10 | ls -t *.DB.tar.gz | head -n -10

Best answer

Try this using all GNU find, sort, awk, and xargs:

find . -type f -printf '%Ts %p\0' |
sort -k1,1nr -sz |
awk -v days=10 -v cnt=10 '
    BEGIN { RS=ORS="\0"; secs=systime()-(days*24*60*60) }
    (NR>cnt) && ($1>secs) { print gensub(/\S+\s+/,"",1) }
' |
xargs -0 ls --

Change ls to rm when you're done testing and sure it's giving you the expected output.