GNU Core Utilities are the GNU project's implementation of the core command-line tools of a POSIX system, including tools like ls, cp, mv, rm, etc.

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Make cp return an error value if the target exists

Is there a way to make cp (from GNU coreutils on Linux) return a nonzero value in case the target file does already exist? Or is there any other small utility which is commonly available and which ...
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1answer
1k views

Install only a few GNU coreutils?

Is there a way to build and install only a few of the GNU coreutils? The README in coreutils-8.19.tar.xz lists 100-odd, but the INSTALL doesn't say how to install only a few, and the Makefile is (to ...
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4answers
838 views

Is there a practical use for the GNU factor command?

Looking through the GNU Coreutils, I spotted the factor command, that I had never noticed before. Reading the man page: Print the prime factors of each specified integer NUMBER. If none are ...
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3answers
669 views

When the lines of a file or directory get too long, upgrade to ls list format?

Is there a way I can do this? For example if a gets a long name like: i-have-names-that-are-too-long-to-describe/ i-have-names-that-are-too-long-to-describe-2/ ...
9
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2answers
929 views

What is the point of ls -f (or, why is this hanging?)

I've got a directory with about 100,000 files in it. ls -f hangs for over a minute. I ran strace, and immediately started seeing getdents, so ls is clearly reading the directory. I also see a lot ...
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2answers
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Trailing slashes on symbolic links to directories

I'm trying to emulate the process of path resolution (see man page path_resolution) in unix-like systems. My OS is Linux with GNU coreutils 8.7. In order to clarify the meaning of extra trailing '/' ...
12
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2answers
281 views

`test` and `[` - different binaries, any difference?

I noticed while answering another question that test and [ are different binaries, but the [ manpage pulls up test's. Besides the requirement for an ending ], is there any difference? If not, why are ...
2
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1answer
669 views

Why does unlink(1) support only one file?

I'm used to commands supporting multiple filename arguments if possible, but unlink doesn't: %> unlink a b unlink: extra operand `b' Try `unlink --help' for more information. I ended up using a ...
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11answers
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Correct locking in shell scripts?

Sometimes you have to make sure that only one instance of a shell script is running at the same time. For example a cron job which is executed via crond that does not provide locking on its own (e.g. ...
9
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2answers
6k views

GNU “install” -d flag — how's it work?

I'm trying to write a makefile rule to copy a directory, maintaining its structure, and since all the other rules in our makefiles use install, I wanted to be consistent. In the manpage, it says: ...
9
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2answers
584 views

What languages are used to build Unix commands?

Examples of commands I'm referring to are ls, pwd, and cd. Also, how are these built? Do you have an example?
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2answers
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coreutils that are utf aware?

When I used cut today, I found out it doesn't treat a utf-8 character as a character, but 3 characters because it's 3 bytes long. This seems to be generally true for many tools. Are there versions ...
8
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3answers
430 views

Which version of X introduced feature Y?

A big part of my daily job is developing software for use on machines with different versions of the same software, like bash, find, and grep. When encountering a feature which would be useful for ...
8
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5answers
617 views

How intelligent are unix utilities?

Unix utilities like sort, find, grep, diff et al are very handy to perform quick tasks, sometimes without writing any code at all. I wanted to know what algorithms do they internally use and how do ...
11
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4answers
4k views

Any options to replace GNU coreutils on Linux?

I've been thinking about discontinuing the use of GNU Coreutils on my Linux systems, but to be honest, unlike many other GNU components, I can't think of any alternatives (on Linux). What alternatives ...
7
votes
4answers
27k views

Storing output of command in shell variable [duplicate]

I have an operation using cut that I would like to assign result to a variable var4=echo ztemp.xml |cut -f1 -d '.' I get the error: ztemp.xml is not a command The value of var4 never gets ...
8
votes
1answer
660 views

Is gnu coreutils sort broken?

Consider the following input to sort: cat > foo <<EOM D,,5014978 DD,,25 D,I,1972765530 D,Y,4223624 -,Y,71285059 YA,I,2 EOM Now try running sort foo The output is not sorted when trying ...
2
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2answers
262 views

Has the GNU coreutils stat tool changed?

Has the GNU coreutils (8.6) version of stat changed? After a recent update, some scripts I wrote that call stat are not working as expected; in particular, I had been making use of stat -c %Y ...