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Re: cat: invalid option -- h

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: cat: invalid option -- h
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 10:52:56 +0100

"J. Grant" <address@hidden> wrote:
> Thanks for the reply. I think -h is almost exclusivly used for help
> normally.

Sorry.  Adding a short-named option to *any* command is never done
lightly.  This has been debated a few times over the last 10 years.
One problem is that there are always exceptions.  For chown and chgrp,
-h means --no-dereference.  For df, du, and ls, -h means --human-readable.
And there are a few more.  Besides, if I were to add -h == --help for cat,
what's to stop me from adding for the 80 or so other programs in the
coreutils package that don't yet have a -h option?

Just use --help or `--h'.

> I noticed that some UNIX machines output cat --help on stderr, I think
> the current approach of printing on stdout is more useful.  Is this a
> common GNU style to use stdout instead of stderr?

The GNU Coding Standards


says --help output should be written to stdout.
If you find a GNU program that does otherwise, and once
you've verified that it's still a problem with the latest
release, please report it;  it's a bug.

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