python vs awk for simple sysamin tasks

Roy Smith roy at
Thu Jun 3 16:45:13 CEST 2004

In article <c9ncn1$cn3$1 at>,
 Matthew Thorley <ruach at> wrote:

> My friend sent me an email asking this:
>  > I'm attemtping to decide which scripting language I should master and 
>  > was wondering if it's possible to do
>  > these unixy awkish commands  in python:
>  >
>  > How to find the amount of disk space a user is taking up:
>  >
>  > find / -user rprice -fstype nfs ! -name /dev/\* -ls | awk '{sum+=$7};\
>  > {print "User rprice total disk use = " sum}'
>  >
>  > How to find the average size of a file for a user:
>  >
>  > find / -user rprice -fstype nfs ! -name /dev/\* -ls | awk '{sum+=$7};\
>  > {print "The ave size of file for rprice is = " sum/NR}'
> I wasn't able to give him an afirmative answer because I've never used 
> python for things like this. I just spent the last while looking on 
> google and haven't found an answer yet. I was hoping some one out there 
> might have some thoughts ?
> thanks much
> -matthew

Neither of these are really tasks well suited to python at all.

I'm sure you could replicate this functionality in python using things 
like os.walk() and os.stat(), but why bother?  The result would be no 
better than the quick on-liners you've got above.  Even if you wanted to 
replace the awk part with python, the idea of trying to replicate the 
find functionality is just absurd.

I'm sure you could replicate them in perl too, but the same comment 
applies.  Find is an essential unix tool.  If you're going to be doing 
unix sysadmin work, you really should figure out how find works.

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