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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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Debian GNU/Linux is my favourite Linux distribution, being stable, flexible, consistent and having a great community. Although I'm not the biggest bug report writer, I try to contribute by staffing the Debian booth at events, carrying the necessary hardware there or even organising the whole booth.


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