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bug#8381: cp inconsistency
bug#8381: cp inconsistency
Wed, 30 Mar 2011 08:03:45 -0600
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On 03/30/2011 05:56 AM, Thomas Hofmann wrote:
> two issues:
> 1) manpage of cp contains obsolete email-address for bug-reporting
The man page is generated from 'cp --help' output; on my Fedora 14
machine, I see this for 'man cp'
Report cp bugs to address@hidden
GNU coreutils 8.5 November 2010
If the man page doesn't end with the same version as 'cp --version',
then your man pages are out of date, and that is an installation problem
on your end (or perhaps something you should take up with your distro);
if it _is_ up-to-date, then the reporting bugs address should match. If
it doesn't, then paste what you actually see before claiming that it is
> 2) cp inconsistency when copying a directory to a) a non existing
> directory, or b) to an existing directory. Further elaborated below.
> cp -a SOME_DIR NOT_YET_EXISTING_DIR
> results in a new directory directly containing each entry of SOME_DIR
> CP -a SOME_DIR EXISTING_DIR
Did you mean 'cp' instead of 'CP'?
> results in EXISTING_DIR/SOME_DIR
This is not a bug - the dual behavior is mandated by POSIX, which
specifically requires that cp first stat() the last argument, then act
differently depending on whether that argument was an existing directory
> The first result seems to be a reasonable outcome in both cases.
> Appending "/" to the directory-names should lead to the same result.
To the source or to the destination, or to both?
> While appending "/." to the target-directory would change the meaning,
> and rather lead to the result of the observed second version.
I'm not sure I follow what you think is wrong or unintuitive. So the
best I can do is state what POSIX requires, and that I believe that GNU
cp meets those requirements:
The first synopsis form is denoted by two operands, neither of which are
existing files of type directory. The cp utility shall copy the contents
of source_file (or, if source_file is a file of type symbolic link, the
contents of the file referenced by source_file) to the destination path
named by target_file.
The second synopsis form is denoted by two or more operands where the -R
option is not specified and the first synopsis form is not applicable.
It shall be an error if any source_file is a file of type directory, if
target does not exist, or if target does not name a directory. The cp
utility shall copy the contents of each source_file (or, if source_file
is a file of type symbolic link, the contents of the file referenced by
source_file) to the destination path named by the concatenation of
target, a single <slash> character if target did not end in a <slash>,
and the last component of source_file.
The third synopsis form is denoted by two or more operands where the -R
option is specified. The cp utility shall copy each file in the file
hierarchy rooted in each source_file to a destination path named as follows:
* If target exists and names an existing directory, the name of the
corresponding destination path for each file in the file hierarchy shall
be the concatenation of target, a single <slash> character if target did
not end in a <slash>, and the pathname of the file relative to the
directory containing source_file.
* If target does not exist and two operands are specified, the name
of the corresponding destination path for source_file shall be target;
the name of the corresponding destination path for all other files in
the file hierarchy shall be the concatenation of target, a <slash>
character, and the pathname of the file relative to source_file.
Eric Blake address@hidden +1-801-349-2682
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org
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