Cleaning up with Some Shell Commands

June 8, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Today, I encountered an interesting problem when syncing my music library between two different computers. Whenever I buy a CD (and yes, I still buy CDs on occasion — albeit ones that are used or heavily discounted), I rip it into FLAC. But sometimes, I'll have ripped an MP3 version of the same album on a different computer. Merging the differing libraries fills my main music repository with FLAC and MP3 versions of the same songs, which is not exactly what I want. I'd much rather throw away the lower bitrate files when a lossless one exits.

My solution is for the general form of "given a directory full of files matching pattern X, delete files matching pattern Y", although it will require parameter tweaking to be applied outside of the context of my music library.

find . -name '*.flac' | cut -d"/" -f 1-3 | uniq | while read line; do
  echo rm -f "$line/"*.mp3

I'll dissect how it works:

The inside of the loop performs a simple rm – actually, the posted line only echoes the command, which is much better for testing. To adapt this for other purposes, tweak the file matching lines and the cut line. Test first with ls or echo. Don't accidentally delete your data.