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wc support for different tab widths

From: Sebastian Bozlee
Subject: wc support for different tab widths
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 07:56:26 -1000

Pádraig Brady wrote:
> Bob Proulx wrote:
>> Hello Sebastian,
>> Sebastian Bozlee wrote:
>>> I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to post this.
>> This is the right place for discussion about 'wc' and development for
>> it.  Along with any of the other coreutils.
>>> This is my first contribution to an open source project, so feedback
>>> is appreciated. I don't expect it to be put in the official code.
>> Welcome!
>>> I've added the ability to count tabs as any number of spaces over 0 to
>>> wc. It's used like this:
>>> wc -L --tab-width=4 [files...]
>> The threshold for adding single letter options is pretty high.  To do
>> that would need pretty strong reasons.  So it would be unlikely that
>> a -L option would get added.  Long options are available however.
> Bob, -L exists and basically selects the "count screen width" functionality,
> so only --tab-width was added with the patch.
>> The big problem with the feature you are adding is that it already
>> exists in the 'expand' program.  Therefore it isn't needed in 'wc'.
>> If you haven't looked at it please look at the 'expand' program.
>>   expand -t8 SOMEFILE | wc
>> The Unix philosophy is that small programs are built in such a way
>> that they can be combined together and create by the combination more
>> powerful programs.  The 'expand' program knows all about expanding
>> tabs.  The 'wc' program knows all about counts.  Combined they know
>> all about counting files with tabs.
> This is one of those 50:50 things.
> The more general way to do it as Bob suggests is:
>  expand -t4 FILE | wc -L
> That also has the advantage of allowing one specify arbitrary tab positions.
> So I don't think this functionality should be part of wc.


>> I am hoping this doesn't discourage you.  In particular it is very
>> unusual to actually receive code patches along with suggestions.  That
>> was great!
> here here.
> cheers,
> Pádraig.

Thanks to both of you for the responses. I'm not discouraged - I think
I'll look through the other coreutils code too. Maybe I'll find
something to do.

Thanks again,

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