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Re: Extend readlink -e

From: Peng Yu
Subject: Re: Extend readlink -e
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2011 12:38:00 -0500

Hi Eric,

I think that you might misunderstood my point.

> The current wording in the manual (that is, the info pages) is:
> `Canonicalize mode'
>     `readlink' outputs the absolute name of the given file which
>     contains no `.', `..' components nor any repeated separators (`/')
>     or symbolic links.
> `-f'
> `--canonicalize'
>     Activate canonicalize mode.  If any component of the file name
>     except the last one is missing or unavailable, `readlink' produces
>     no output and exits with a nonzero exit code.  A trailing slash is
>     ignored.

So the info is not clear either for the case where the argument is not
a symbolic link. Therefore, both info and man (at least info, if
people think man should kept short while sacrificing some clarity) can
be improved.

> I'm not quite sure I see what you are asking to be changed.  It appears that

~/linux/test/gnu/gnu/coreutils/readlink$ ll a.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 pengy staff 0 2011-11-04 11:08:27 a.txt
~/linux/test/gnu/gnu/coreutils/readlink$ readlink a.txt
~/linux/test/gnu/gnu/coreutils/readlink$ readlink -f a.txt

Do you see that neither man nor info covers the above case now? Note
that without -f, nothing is printed for the file a.txt.

> At this point, patches might speak louder than words.  You are welcome to
> submit a patch against readlink.c that improves the --help wording, or
> against coreutils.texi to improve the info wording; remember that it is
> intentionally a goal of the --help output to be concise, while the info
> documentation should be complete.

I don't have setup for updating the source code and I am not planning
to do so. All I can do is to give suggestions if they are welcome. I'm
sure that any one with a setup can update these suggested changes on
the man page and help fairly easily.


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