cvs commit: src/usr.sbin/pkg_install/add main.c pkg_add.1 src/usr.sbin/pkg_install/create main.c pkg_create.1 src/usr.sbin/pkg_install/delete main.c pkg_delete.1 src/usr.sbin/pkg_install/info main.c pkg_info.1 ...

Maxim Sobolev sobomax at
Tue Jun 3 21:05:50 UTC 2008

Joe Marcus Clarke wrote:
> Remko Lodder wrote:
>> On Tue, June 3, 2008 5:18 pm, Florent Thoumie wrote:
>>> On Fri, May 30, 2008 at 9:27 PM, Coleman Kane <cokane at> 
>>> wrote:
>>>> On Fri, 2008-05-30 at 12:58 -0700, Maxim Sobolev wrote:
>>>>> I am curious what is our policy on using long options in the base
>>>>> system
>>>>> (if any)? I believe that pkg_install is the first non-contributed base
>>>>> system utility to actually widely use it. For some reason I've got
>>>>> impression that use of getopt_long is considered "the Linux/GNU way",
>>>>> this API provided for compatibility purposes and its use in base 
>>>>> system
>>>>> is discouraged. Quick grep through /use/src seemingly supports that.
>>>>> Can someone confirm/reject?
>>>> I am not sure about policy, however I do appreciate the long options
>>>> sometimes. Primarily, I think they are useful (in a self-documenting
>>>> way) for use in shell scripts. I tend to prefer the single-char options
>>>> when I am doing the administration myself.
>>> I'm not aware of such policy.
>>> I think they're useful because as far as pkg_install is concerned, we
>>> are using single-char options that are hard to match to the action
>>> it's doing. Here are a couple examples:
>>> - pkg_create -h doesn't call usage() because it's already taken.
>>> - it's easy to confuse pkg_info -o and pkg_info -O.
>>> I'll back it out if general consensus is that long options should be
>>> avoided.
>> I like the change (long opts).
> +1
> I don't see why we should abandon something that is convenient for our 
> users just because Linux does it.

Apart from the BSD vs. GNU way, I think it's mistake that long 
"synonyms" have been added to existing options. The reason for that is 
because this is likely to promote creating superfluously incompatible 
scripts/software that relies on pkg_install, as developer who develops 
on say 8.0 may not be aware of the fact that in previous releases those 
long options were not existing.

IMHO, long options is mostly for script writers (for whom it's harmful 
in this case according to the above). It adds no convenience for a CLI 
user. Except of maybe one or two options that one uses every day nobody 
can really remember what world to use without looking into the man page 
anyway (at which point short option wins since it's easier to type). 
Maybe I am old school, but for me for example remembering `-L' in wget 
it much easier than remembering `--relative'.


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