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bug#7455: cut - lack of --merge-delimiters option

From: Pádraig Brady
Subject: bug#7455: cut - lack of --merge-delimiters option
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2010 14:37:41 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100227 Thunderbird/3.0.3

On 23/11/10 12:57, Leo Lopes wrote:
> Thanks for replying.
>> makes me wonder if it's just a question of documentation
>> and/or general education.  cut is a very specialized tool.
>> If it doesn't do the job, using a more general-purpose one
>> is easy, once you see how.  Do you think that adding a few
>> examples in "info cut" (including uses of awk) would suffice?
> I think adding the awk or tr examples in the manpage/info page would
> be helpful. However, I personally don't think it would suffice. I
> think it would still violate the principle of least surprise.

Well it's still marginal in my mind.

The argument for supporting `cut -d '[:blank:]'` is that
`sort` and `join` for e.g. support this notion of a field by default,
so it's a very common requirement which we might want to
support directly, rather than relying on `awk`.

We should at least document something like this in: info cut invocation

Also consider using `awk` which supports more sophisticated field
processing.  `awk` by default will use (and discard) blank characters
to separate fields.  Leading and trailing blanks on a line are ignored.


  print the 2nd field:         awk '{print $2}'
  print the 2nd to last field: awk '{print $NF-1}'

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