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Touch, by default, changes the timestamp for an existing file to the current date and time or, if the file named does not exist, creates it in the current directory. For example:

$ ls -l foo
-rw-------    1 user        users          32 Mar 18 22:07 foo
$ touch foo
$ ls -l foo
-rw-------    1 user        users          32 Mar 21 12:28 foo

sets the timestamp to the current time.

As another example, if .hushlogin did not exist:

$ cd
$ touch .hushlogin

creates a .hushlogin file in one's home directory, which suppresses the display of /etc/motd on login.

Among other options, a particular time may be specified with the -t option and file creation may be suppressed with the -c option.

Provided by

Most (all?) Linux distributions incorporate this from the GNU Coreutils: man page

Related Commands

  • chgrp- Changes group ownership of a file
  • chown- Changes user/group ownership of a file
  • chmod - Changes the user/group permissions of a file/directory
  • ls - Lists files