Nathan Fellman Nathan Fellman - 1 month ago 18
Linux Question

How can I use aliased commands with xargs?

I have the following alias in my .aliases:

alias gi grep -i

and I want to look for
case-insensitively in all the files that have the string
in their name:

find -name \*bar\* | xargs gi foo

This is what I get:

xargs: gi: No such file or directory

Is there any way to use aliases in xargs, or do I have to use the full version:

find -name \*bar\* | xargs grep -i foo

Note: This is a simple example. Besides
I have some pretty complicated aliases that I can't expand manually so easily.

Edit: I used
, so please specify if an answer is shell-specific.


Aliases are shell-specific - in this case, most likely bash-specific. To execute an alias, you need to execute bash, but aliases are only loaded for interactive shells (more precisely, .bashrc will only be read for an interactive shell).

bash -i runs an interactive shell (and sources .bashrc). bash -c cmd runs cmd.

Put them together: bash -ic cmd runs cmd in an interactive shell, where cmd can be a bash function/alias defined in your .bashrc.

find -name \*bar\* | xargs bash -ic gi foo

should do what you want.

Edit: I see you've tagged the question as "tcsh", so the bash-specific solution is not applicable. With tcsh, you dont need the -i, as it appears to read .tcshrc unless you give -f.

Try this:

find -name \*bar\* | xargs tcsh -c gi foo

It worked for my basic testing.