mimetype - Determine file type
mimetype [options] [-] files
This script tries to determine the mime type of a file using the Shared
MIME-info database. It is intended as a kind of
work-alike, but uses mimetypes instead of
If one symlinks the file
command to mimetype
it will behave a
little more compatible, see "--file-compat". Commandline options to
specify alternative magic files are not implemented the same because of the
conflicting data formats. Also the wording of the descriptions will differ.
For naming switches I followed the manpage of file(1)
version 4.02 when
possible. They seem to differ completely from the spec in the 'utilities'
chapter of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (POSIX).
- -a, --all
- Show output of all rules that match the file.
TODO: this method now just returns one match for each method (globs, magic,
- -b, --brief
- Do not prepend filenames to output lines (brief mode).
- Force the program to look in these directories for the shared mime-info
database. The directories specified by the basedir specification are
- -d, --describe
- Print file descriptions instead of mime types, this is the default when
- -D, --debug
- Print debug information about how the mimetype was determined.
- -f namefile, --namefile=namefile
- Read the names of the files to be examined from the file 'namefile' (one
per line) before the argument list.
- Make mimetype behave a little more file(1) compatible. This is
turned on automatically when you call mimetype by a link called 'file'.
A single '-' won't be considered a separator between options and filenames
anymore, but becomes identical to "--stdin". ( You can still use
'--' as separator, but that is not backward compatible with the original
file command. ) Also the default becomes to print descriptions instead of
- -F string, --separator=string
- Use string as custom separator between the file name and its mimetype or
description, defaults to ':' .
- -h, --help
- -u, --usage
- Print a help message and exits.
- -i, --mimetype
- Use mime types, opposite to "--describe", this is the default
when _not_ using "--file-compat".
- -L, --dereference
- Follow symbolic links.
- -l code, --language=code
- The language attribute specifies a two letter language code, this makes
descriptions being outputted in the specified language.
- -M, --magic-only
- Do not check for extensions, globs or inode type, only look at the content
of the file. This is particularly useful if for some reason you don't
trust the name or the extension a file has.
- -N, --noalign
- Do not align output fields.
- If you want an alternative output format, you can specify a format string
containing the following escapes:
%f for the filename
%m mime type
Alignment is not available when using this, you need to post-process the
output to do that.
- Determine type of content from STDIN, less powerful then normal file
checking because it only uses magic typing. This will happen also if the
STDIN filehandle is a pipe.
To use this option IO::Scalar needs to be installed.
- -v, --version
- Print the version of the program and exit.
- These variables can list base directories to search for data files. The
shared mime-info will be expected in the "mime" sub directory of
one of these directories. If these are not set, there will be searched for
the following directories:
See also the "XDG Base Directory Specification"
The base dir for all data files is determined by two environment variables, see
- All other files are compiled from these source files. To re-compile them
- Compiled information about globs.
- Compiled information about magic numbers.
- Descriptions of a mimetype in multiple languages, used for the
If a file has an empty mimetype or an empty description, most probably the file
doesn't exist and the given name doesn't match any globs. An empty description
can also mean that there is no description available in the language you
The program exits with a non-zero exit value if either the commandline arguments
failed, a module it depends on wasn't found or the shared mime-info database
wasn't accessible. See File::MimeInfo for more details.
The '--all' switch doesn't really show all matches, but only one per mime-typing
method. This needs to be implemented in the modules first.
If you find bugs, please file them in our Github issue tracker at
doesn't provide a switch for looking inside compressed files
because it seems to me that this can only be done by un-compressing the file,
something that defeats the purpose. On the other hand the option should exist
for strict compatibility with file(1)
. Possibly a subclass should be
made for this one day.
Jaap Karssenberg <email@example.com> Maintained by Michiel Beijen
Copyright (c) 2003, 2012 Jaap G Karssenberg. All rights reserved. This program
is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same
terms as Perl.
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY
WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR
A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.