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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4
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1answer
99 views

How does coreutil's date manage to get such weird results?

I was playing around with date to try to convert expressions such as "2 hours" to a number of seconds like 7200. I thought I could perform this with invocations such as: date -d "1970-01-01 00:00:00 ...
4
votes
2answers
395 views

tac command's option creates strange output [comprehension question]

Say I have this file, containing nothing but a b c b a Using tac --separator=a file in BASH [on a Debian based Linux], I get this: # empty line # empty line b c ...
8
votes
1answer
128 views

Is there a way to express: `--link` or fall back to ordinary copy in cp (from GNU coreutils)?

Is there a way to tell cp to --link (i.e. create hard links), but fall back in the case where I am attempting inter-device hardlinks? Inter-device links aren't possible and would cause cp to fail. ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
5
votes
4answers
877 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
703 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
votes
2answers
948 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

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
votes
2answers
283 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
votes
1answer
704 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 ...
40
votes
11answers
24k views

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
votes
2answers
7k 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
votes
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?
10
votes
2answers
1k views

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
votes
3answers
442 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
votes
5answers
619 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
votes
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
29k 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
668 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
votes
2answers
266 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 ...