In scripts when you need to compare last modification date of directories, you can get the date using stat in a unix timestamp or seconds from the Epoch:
# stat -c '%Z' /usr/local/sbin 1373673278
Using date you can get the same format like this:
# date +%s 1373673486
You could use this in a script to do something if a directory is older or newer than some amount of time:
#!/bin/bash # FILE: sync_usr_local_sbin.sh # AUTHOR: ForDoDone <fordodone at email.com> # DATE: 2013-07-12 # NOTES: syncs /usr/local/sbin to hostxyz if it's been modified in the last 5 minutes # now=`date +%s` uls_lastmtime=`stat -c '%Z' /usr/local/sbin` uls_diff=$(echo $now - $uls_lastmtime |bc) if [ $uls_diff -lt 300 ] then rsync -a /usr/local/sbin/ hostxyz:/usr/local/sbin fi
Of course rsync has a bunch of options to check whether it needs to do an update of files, this is just an example.