[TUHS] Command line options and complexity

Greg 'groggy' Lehey grog at lemis.com
Thu Mar 12 08:56:38 AEST 2020

On Wednesday, 11 March 2020 at 14:18:08 +1100, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> The "ls" command for example really needs an option-ectomy; I find that I
> don't really care about the exact number of bytes there are in a file as
> the nearest KiB or MiB (or even GiB) is usually good enough, so I'd be
> happy if "-h" was the default with some way to turn it off (yes, I know
> that it's occasionally useful to add them all up in a column, but that
> won't tell you how many media blocks are required).

A good example.  But you're not removing options, you're just
redefining them.  In fact I find the -h option particularly emetic, so
a better choice in removing options would be to remove -h and use a
filter to mutilate the sizes:

  $ ls -l | humanize

But that's a pain, isn't it?  That's why there's a -h option for
people who like it.  Note that you can't do it the other way round:
you can't get the exact size from -h output.

And then there's the question why you don't like the standard output.
Because the number strings are too long and difficult to read, maybe?
That's the rationale for the -, option.

> Quickly now, without looking: which option shows unprintable
> characters in a filename?  Unless you use it regularly (in which
> case you have real problems) you would have to look it up; I find
> that "ls ... | od -bc" to be quicker, especially on filenames with
> trailing blanks etc (which "-B" won't show).

This is arguably a bug in the -B option.  I certainly don't think the
pipe notation is quicker.  But it's nice to have both alternatives.

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