Subject: Re: install(1) only copies with -c
To: Bruce J.A. Nourish <>
From: Simon Burge <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 12/23/2003 12:59:39
"Bruce J.A. Nourish" wrote:

> Hey Everyone,
> I just encountered this issue with a package that I'm making. It
> appears that everyone else's install(1) always copies (rather than
> moves) files, and that "-c" is ignored. We are at odds with Linux
> and FreeBSD >=4.4 at least. 
> I've tried searching GNATS and Google for this, but GNATS came up
> empty and it's very hard to google for "-c" :-)
> Is there is reason we maintain this behaviour? I don't immediately
> see any good reason for it, and it makes us annoyingly incompatible.

OpenBSD made copying the default in August 1996 and FreeBSD in May 2001.
Traditionally, the BSD install(1) needed -c to copy the file and the
SysV install just copied always.  I suspect GNU install follows the SysV
behaviour.  There is no SUSv3 standard for install either.

I guess "annoyingly incompatible" could have been applied to OpenBSD in
'96 but yes we are now the odd ones out when it comes to this behaviour.
I can't think of any situation where the default behaviour of removing
the file is actually useful and wouldn't mind if we made copying the
file instead of removing it the default.

Simon Burge                            <>
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