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Feature request: ls --hyperlink

From: Egmont Koblinger
Subject: Feature request: ls --hyperlink
Date: Thu, 4 May 2017 22:14:08 +0200


Recently two popular terminal emulators, GNOME Terminal and iTerm2
have implemented a brand new feature: explicit hyperlinks.

Unlike the existing functionality of most terminal emulators of
automatically detecting URLs that appear on the screen, this time it's
like hyperlinks on web pages: the link target is specified by the OSC
8 escape sequence and the visible text can be an arbitrary piece of

As I've played with this feature, I found a really compelling use
case: listing files in a way that all of them are hyperlinks to
"file://...". It makes it as easy and convenient as a Ctrl+click to
open them in their preferred graphical application.

(For even more fun, there's a pending demo patch to GNOME Terminal to
display a preview of certain local files on mouseover. We're uncertain
yet if we'll finalize and ship it or not.)

I've created a quick proof of concept patch for a new cmdline option
"ls --hyperlink=always/auto/never", have set it up in my "ls" alias,
and been using that happily for a few weeks now. Please find it at Note that it
contains a couple of issues, e.g. I forgot to free some data, and it
does stupid things around symlinks. As said, it's a demo, not a fully
polished patch.

I'd be curious to hear if you like this idea, and would be happy to
see this option appearing in mainstream coreutils.

Please see
for details about the feature.

Let me know if you have any questions, concerns etc. (cc me, I'm not

Thanks a lot,

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