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Re: Grep --directories option

From: James Morrison
Subject: Re: Grep --directories option
Date: Fri, 30 May 2003 17:21:04 -0400 (EDT)

   From: "Paul Eggert" <>
   Date: Fri, 30 May 2003 13:58:14 -0700

   > Date: Fri, 30 May 2003 14:01:31 +0200
   > From: Stepan Kasal <>

   > > How to differentiate these systems
   > > I don't know, maybe a "mkdir foo; cat foo"?
   > > Or just using host_os
   > Thank you very much.  I think this is the best solution....
   > I hope that no one minds that the default depends on the OS.

   I mind!  grep should behave the same way on all platforms; otherwise
   it's a portability (and compilation and documentation) nightmare.

   Here's a simple counterproposal:

   * Change the default to be --directories='recurse'.

 I hope you are kidding.

   This is simple and portable, and it's more useful than the current
   behavior.  The new behavior would conform to POSIX, since POSIX
   requires that the input files must be text files; directories are not
   text files, so GNU grep can do what it likes with them.

 Sure, and how many people go grep 'foo' * because they want to look in
a bunch of files in the current directory.

   Having the default be --directories='skip' is less useful, and would
   confuse new users more.  Normally if a user wants to grep a directory,
   they are probably thinking of the files under the directory, not the
   directory itself.

 I think skip would be the least surprising.  However, for the Hurd I think
the common case should be skip and add an option, -R, which is the same
as -d read for GNU Hurd based systems. 

James A. Morrison

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