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bug#9450: Bug report on 'dirname' : when jokers match several files

From: Laurent TARRISSE
Subject: bug#9450: Bug report on 'dirname' : when jokers match several files
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2011 16:37:29 +0200

----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Blake" <address@hidden>
To: "Laurent TARRISSE" <address@hidden>
Cc: <address@hidden>
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2011 4:24 PM
Subject: Re: bug#9450: Bug report on 'dirname' : when jokers match several files

9450 tag wishlist

On 09/06/2011 07:53 AM, Laurent TARRISSE wrote:

Here this a strange behaviour using 'dirname' with joker filename:

The term is 'wildcard', not 'joker'

Please accept my apologizes. I'm french :)

dirname: too many arguments
Try `dirname --help' for more information.

Thanks for the report. To some degree, this is expected behavior: POSIX requires that portable shell scripts pass exactly one argument to dirname, so passing 0 or more than 1 arguments is necessarily in the realm of non-portable code, and we would rather error out if we don't have any better defined semantics for an extension.

OK for the answer.

Could 'dirname' process only its first parameter ?

No. But there _has_ been requests in the past to add an extension to GNU coreutils to match BSD dirname/basename semantics of optionally taking more than one parameter:


But so far, no one has submitted patches. Therefore, I'll keep this bug report open, but tag it as a wishlist.

Just let me explain... we had to reuse unix scripts, primarily written for HP UX

   >uname -a
   HP-UX ppbmo B.11.23 U ia64 3204054692 unlimited-user license

Some of our scripts, who did function perfectly on HP-UX for several years, encountered problems once moved on Linux platform. One reason is due to dirname : on HP UX I can give several arguments to dirname, and as you say, on Linux I cannot. That's all. ;)

Eric Blake   address@hidden    +1-801-349-2682
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org

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