Subject: Re: head/tail behaviour not explained
To: Hubert Feyrer <>
From: Igor Sobrado <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 03/06/2003 20:07:49
> On Thu, 6 Mar 2003, Igor Sobrado wrote:
> > The command-line syntax of head(1) and tail(1) is not fully explained
> > in the man pages.  The synopsis of head(1):
> IIRC the concensus on this was to not documented deprecated options.

Hi Zak, Greywolf, and Hubert!

Thanks a lot for these detailed explanations about the behaviour
of the head(1) and tail(1) commands.  I will not use this form
in the future too.  I was not aware about it being deprecated.

Greywolf, I agree with you, the -number form is very easy to use,
but it is a bit dark and difficult to understand too.  It is an
old behaviour, that is a good reason to preserve it in current
versions of these commands (a lot of shell scripts must be using
those forms now!) but if it is being deprecated is better to
withdrawn it as soon as possible.  At present, supporting it in
those commands implementations is useful.  In any case, I believe
that following those standards is a *requirement* for a serious
operating system.  I do not trust on operating systems that do not
care on following standards.  Perhaps this form of head(1) and tail(1)
will be preserved (undocumented) a lot of years yet before being
withdrawn.  It is a good agreement between following modern standards
and supporting old-style scripts.

Again, thanks a lot for that detailed explanation of the -number
form of those commands.  I feel that choosing NetBSD for my own
use was the right option!  I am surprised with the high-quality
of the development process on the *BSD operating systems.


Igor Sobrado, UK34436 -