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[NOT A] Re: Bug in 'ls'

From: David T-G
Subject: [NOT A] Re: Bug in 'ls'
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 20:51:15 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.4i

Todd --

...and then Todd Geders said...
% If you have a filename beginning with a "dash" such as '-test.png' and you

If you have a filename beginning with a "dash" then you have to work
around it, just like you have to work around an embedded space (try

  cd /path/to/scratch/dir
  touch "this is a test"
  ls *test

and see) or any other "special" character.

% attempt to 'ls *.png' you get the following error:
% $ ls *.png
% ls: invalid option -- e
% Try `ls --help' for more information.
% $ ls | grep png
% -test.png

That will do it.  When you specify "*.png" your shell expands that to


(and would tack any other files on there if they were present).  What ls
sees is

  ls -test.png

which, of course, is the 'ls' command with the option flag '-t' and
the argument to that 'est.png' -- and the --help output clearly says

  -t                         sort by modification time

without allowing for any other arguments.

% This is with GNU fileuitls version 4.1.11 on a GNU/Linux machine running
% Gentoo Linux 1.2 with gcc 2.95.3.  Have not been able to test on other
% distribution.  AFAIK, the only forbidden characters are / and NULL, so I

Well, not so much 'forbidden', but certainly less than wise.

% believe it is a bug.

Nope.  An old trick on new users, in fact :-)  Look for '--' in the docs.
For some fun, try

  cd /
  touch ./-rR
  ls *

and figure out why your reverse-sorted listing goes on and on and on ;-)

% ~Todd Geders


David T-G                      * There is too much animal courage in 
(play) address@hidden * society and not sufficient moral courage.
(work) address@hidden  -- Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health"
http://justpickone.org/davidtg/      Shpx gur Pbzzhavpngvbaf Qrprapl Npg!

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