[TUHS] fmt(1): history, POSIX, -t, -c

markus schnalke meillo at marmaro.de
Thu May 28 22:34:37 AEST 2020


personally I use fmt(1) a lot for email formatting and such.
Typically I only use the `-w' parameter. Now someone asked me about
`-t' and `-c' of *GNU* fmt(1). I wasn't able to find good documentation
on them. The manpage only tells that they have to do with different
indentation for the first or first two lines. But what are the use
cases? How would source text for these parameters look like?

A look into the description and rationale sections of POSIX, which
often provides helpful information, was not possible because fmt(1)
is not part of POSIX (only fold(1) is). Why's that? Is it because
fmt(1) differs so much between Unix implementations? On BSD `-c'
centers text and `-t' sets tab widths. Plan 9 has none of these
options. But still, `-w' could have been standardized. Or was the
line filling algorithm different as well? How does fold(1) fit into
the picture?

Maybe you can answer some of these questions or give hints on where
I could find answers myself.


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