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du -sh is one of the common ways which I utilize du command, I used it to get the total disk size of current directory occupied. Another one is du -hd1, getting the disk sizes of each subdirectory uses, it lists one by one instead of a grand amount.

But how about the total sizes of individual files which you are interested? Not indented to show off my AWK scripting skill, but I did use AEK to sum it up byte counts from find or ls command if its too complicated, i.e. involving some directories. To be honest, that shows no skill at all, 10-minute AWK noob can do that and only reveals how I was unfamiliar with du command and clearly I didnt RTFM. From its manpage:

-c, --total produce a grand total

Its as simply as that and I didnt even know before. So, basically, you can do:

find -L -name 'PATTERN' -print0 | du -ch --files0-from -

Or simply, if filenames do not contain spaces:

du -ch $(find -L -name 'PATTERN' -print0)

Thats all you need, although you still need some knowledge of find. The -L is for symbolic link (symlink), you can ignore/omit that if you dont even know what it is, you probably dont need that. For files in current directory, you can use it as if its a ls command, for example:

du -ch *.txt

Thats all.

I used to run the following commands to find out if a command exists (besides using Bash auto-completion if it's executable in PATH) and what kind of the command is:

$ type which
which is /usr/bin/which
$ file /usr/bin/which
/usr/bin/which: ELF 64-bit LSB executable, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked (uses shared libs), for GNU/Linux 2.6.9, stripped

And I am not kidding you, I manually typed /usr/bin/which in the second command to find out the file type. file requires a full path. I feel little embarrassed. :) But, it's nothing wrong with it.

However, the better ways can be:

$ file `type -p which`
$ file `which which`

Note that type is a Bash shell builtin command (can differ from your environment), which is a normal program. You can also use locate for file'd a list of matched files if you only have partial filename. All three commands can accept a number of filenames.

I wanted to know how I could monitor file system changes, especially activities on my home directory, and this was about this thread. I was thinking the issue could be solved by generating a snapshot of files using find, then watching changes and making changes to the snapshot file. Using grep to do the search.

But, thats simply stupid. Just using find would do that OP wants since that program OP uses only search for file names and folder names. For the first run of find it might be slower, 31000 more files took about six seconds. Well its not really slow. The consecutive runs only take about 0.1 seconds even after you add or delete files.

Anyway, its still fun to know how to monitor files. I installed inotify-tools package for inotifywait program.

Here is the script I use:

inotifywait -m -r --format $'%T %e %w%f' --timefmt '%H:%M:%S' --exclude ~/'(\.mozilla|Documents/KeepNote)' -e modify -e move -e create -e delete ~ 2>&1 | awk '/^[0-9]/ {
sub(/'"${HOME//\//\\/}"'/, "~", $0)
split($0, a, " ")
printf "%-20s %s\n", substr($0, 0, len), substr($0, len+2)
// flush stdout
{print ; system("")}
' | tee -a /tmp/home_monitor

-m and -r are for recursively monitoring on files. I set up the output format and timestamp format. I exclude two things from being listed, one is ~/.mozilla and another is KeepNotes files. You can only have one --exclude supplied, if you have more than one, then only the last one would be effective. You have to group them up. -e specify events you want to monitor.

I use awk to do format adjustment, column alignment. Also replacing the literal of your home directory, /home/username, with just ~. Then I pipe the output to tee, so I can see on screen and write output to file at the same time. This way, Conky can ${tail /tmp/home_monitor 10} the file.

I was planning to use named pipe:

% MPIPE=/tmp/home_monitor
$ mkfifo $MPIPE
$ inotifywait ... | awk ... >$MPIPE
$ tail -f $MPIPE

It will save some disk space, but it doesnt work with Conky.

If you want to clean up /tmp/home_monitor when it gets too big, just do echo '' > /tmp/home_monitor. An important note for you, when you tail a file in Conky, make sure it exists. If you remove the file, Conky exits. I was hoping there was a Conky variable would run program in a thread and do similar task as $tail does, only the input is the standard output of that thread not a file.

By the way, I had never thought even in my own home directory would have many activities.