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Monday·29·November·2010

Useful but Unknown Unix Commandline Options of cat //at 14:04 //by abe

from the cats-can-do-more-than-you-may-expect dept.

Yesterday in Harald König’s commandline talk at LinuxDay.at, I first heard of cat’s -e option, and noticed that cat has quite some interesting options. From the man page of cat:

-A, --show-all
equivalent to -vET
-b, --number-nonblank
number nonempty output lines
-e
equivalent to -vE
-E, --show-ends
display $ at end of each line
-n, --number
number all output lines
-s, --squeeze-blank
suppress repeated empty output lines
-t
equivalent to -vT
-T, --show-tabs
display TAB characters as ^I
-v, --show-nonprinting
use ^ and M- notation, except for LFD and TAB

Some examples made on an UTF-8 terminal:

user@host:demo $ cat bla
ä  ö  ü ß   


abc
user@host:demo $ cat -Ab bla
     1  M-CM-$  M-CM-6  M-CM-<^IM-CM-^_   $
$
$
     2  abc$
user@host:demo $ cat -Ens bla
     1  ä  ö  ü ß   $
     2	$
     3  abc$
user@host:demo $ 

I hope this blog posting will reduce the percentage of “useless uses of cat” by raising the amount of “useful uses of cat”. :-)

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About...

This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

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