[TUHS] Command line options and complexity

Dave Horsfall dave at horsfall.org
Thu Mar 12 15:22:01 AEST 2020

On Thu, 12 Mar 2020, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:

> 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

I also had something like that in mind, except being British/Australian 
I'd spell it with an "s" :-)

> 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.

Which is why I suggested there be a means to turn it off; I'm becoming a 
fan of environment variables to modify the standard behaviour of tools 
(but I loathe the Penguin/OS default to use colours).

> 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.

More than likely; as I approach age 68 I notice that I'm losing some 
cognitive facility...  I might start using "," and see if I like it, but I 
see that the Mac doesn't have it (my Penguin is off the air at the 
moment), and having it as an environment variable would be nice.

>> 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.

Agreed; as for the bug I think it comes down to what is meant by an
unprintable character.  I certainly remember finding "hidden" set-uid
shells with the name of ".. " etc back when I was going after the
UNSW kiddies with an axe back in the late 70s...

-- Dave

More information about the TUHS mailing list