Patch for cp(1)

Bruce Evans bde at
Sat Apr 2 23:52:46 PST 2005

On Sat, 2 Apr 2005, David Schultz wrote:

> On Sat, Apr 02, 2005, Bruce Evans wrote:
>> On Fri, 1 Apr 2005, David Schultz wrote:
>>> Furthermore, are there situations where -r and -R differ such that
>>> -r would behave reasonably?  If it's the case that every time
>> As I said, the main case where cp -r gives useful behaviour is for
>> symlinks, where you actually want to follow symlinks but don't know
>> about cp -RL.
> As (I think) Tom meant to suggest in his last message, -r could be
> made an alias for -RL.  That would result in behavior less
> surprising than to most people than either -r's current behavior
> or removing -r entirely.  Do you agree?

I would be happy with that.  Maybe people who want -r to be the same as
-R wouldn't be.

>> BTW, there are several utilities whose support for tree walks is deficient
>> due to their only having a -r flag and not having caught up with the 13+
>> year old -RHLP flags.  diff is the most important one.
> What I really want is a grep -R that understands how to skip
> special files.  Actually, grep -R already exists, but it's just an
> alias for -r.

Hmm, -[rR] is even more tangled and broken for grep than for cp.  The
tangled history is:
- wosch added -R in 1996 in grep.c 1.5.  ISTR complaining that it wasn't
   accompanied by [HLP].
- gnu added -r, and we merged the changes in grep.c 1.14.
- -R was lost in grep.c 1.14 and restored as an alias for -r in 1.15.
So we now have -R == -r, and can't fix -R without adding a new option.

While I'm wishing for utilities to handle links correctly, I'll wish
for a zgrep thet can skip all hard links except the first in
"zgrep -r foo /usr/share/man".

> You have to say 'grep -D skip -R', which I never
> remember until I've drummed my fingers on the keyboard for a while
> waiting for grep to finish.  Actually, I think I'll go make an
> alias now...

I didn't know about grep -D.


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