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RFE: please add "hash-type" prefix to *sum utilities

From: Dmitry Yu. Bolkhovityanov
Subject: RFE: please add "hash-type" prefix to *sum utilities
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 11:29:07 +0600 (NOVT)

All of /usr/bin/*sum utilities produce very similar output consisting of a long number of hex-digits, so that later one can't instantly understand what type of hash it is.

It was acceptable in the old md5sum-only days, but now it causes much confusion. For example, see RedHat bug #515715.

Of course, one can count the number of digits, but a) that's weird; b) different algorythms can use equal hash length.

The problem would be eliminated if *sum utils could prefix hashes with "type-tag", similarly to what is done in /etc/shadow. For example, "sha1:..." or "sha1/...". (And that is THE RIGHT THING -- data of unknown type is bad, so http introduced "Content-type:" header, PGP includes "Hash:" prefix, etc. With current diversity of hash types, that becomes the barest necessity for *sum utils too...)

(Of curse, for compatibility reasons, that have to be switched on explicitly -- e.g., with "-l" (Label). And besides adding such tags, *sum have to understand such prefixes, but that's trivial.)

          Dmitry Yu. Bolkhovityanov
          The Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics
          Novosibirsk, Russia

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