Deprecating ps(1)s -w switch

Garance A Drosehn gad at
Wed Aug 26 05:26:45 UTC 2009

At 11:50 AM -0700 8/25/09, Doug Barton wrote:
>Brian Somers wrote:
>>  I recently closed bin/137647 and had second thoughts after Ivan (the
>>  originator) challenged my reason for closing it.
>>  The suggestion is that ps's -w switch is a strange artifact that can
>>  be safely deprecated.  ps goes to great lengths to implement width
>>  limitations, and any time I've seen people not using -ww has either
>>  been a mistake or doesn't matter.  Using 'cut -c1-N' is also a great
>>  way of limiting widths if people really want that...
>>  I'd like to propose changing ps so that width limits are removed and
>>  '-w' is deprecated - ignored for now with a note in the man page
>>  saying that it will be removed in a future release.
>>  Does anyone have any objections to doing this?  I don't propose
>>  merging this back into stable/8.
>Short version, yes, I object to changing the defaults.

Speaking as someone who has worked on 'ps' in the past, I recommend
that you go slow in making arbitrary changes.  'ps' is already a
minefield of craziness between various versions of unix, and adding
this new variant will just make matters worse.  You certainly can
not go back to older releases and change the formatting there, so
all programmers who write for a variety of machines/platforms will
just end up with one extra way for things to break.

Garance Alistair Drosehn     =               drosehn at
Senior Systems Programmer               or   gad at
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;             Troy, NY;  USA

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