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Re: [coreutils] join feature: auto-format

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: [coreutils] join feature: auto-format
Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2011 16:09:18 +0100

Pádraig Brady wrote:
>> While -e without -o was previously a noop, and so could safely be extended 
>> IMHO,
>> this will also change the behavior when with -e and -j are specified.
>> Previously if -j > 1 was specified, and that field was missing,
>> then -e would be used in its place, rather than the empty string.
>> This still does that, but also does the padding.
>> Without the -j issue I'd be 80:20 for just extending -e to auto pad,
>> but given -j I'm 50:50.  The alternative it to select this with
>> say '-o padded', but that's less discoverable, and complicates
>> the interface somewhat.
> Considering this more, I think it's safer to auto pad only
> when '-o padded' is specified. I notice the plan9 `join` man page
> has an example that uses -e '' to explicitly specify the NUL string as filler,
> which would have triggered our auto pad if we left it as above.

I'm glad you found that, confirming that
the conservative approach is better.

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