ODOC: file

file — Try to determine the FILE type.

Summary :

File tests each argument in an attempt to classify it. There are 3 sets of tests, performed in this order:

  1. File System Test
  2. Magic Number Test
  3. Language Test

The File System test is based on examining the return from a stat(2) system call. The program checks to see if the file is empty, or if it’s some sort of special file (block, char, pipe, …).

The Magic Number test is used to check for files with data in particular fixed formats. For example, a binary executable files will have magic number in some fixed position to indicate the OS, that file is executable. Few standard data files also following the magic number concept.

The Language Test will happen, if a file does not match any of the entries in the magic file. File will be checked for the ASCII, UTF8, ISO-8859-x, … Char set. Once file has determined the character set

used in a text-type file, it will attempt to determine in what (programming) language the file is written.

Unidentified file will classified as “data”.


$ file myfile — Print the file type.

$ file -b myfile — Don’t the filename in the output.

$ file -f list — Take the input filenames (one per line) from the file ‘list’.

$ file -k myfile — Print all matches.

$ file -z myfile.tgz — Try to look into compressed file.

$ file -i myfile — Print the output in MIME format.

$ file -m mymagic myfile — Use custom magic file.

# file -s /dev/hda? — Take blk/char special files as an argument.

Read: man file

odoc, file, linux, gnu/linux, file+system