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bug#25553: How many coreutils rely on tabs to align things (other, than

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: bug#25553: How many coreutils rely on tabs to align things (other, than 'du'?
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2017 16:20:07 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/45.7.0

L A Walsh wrote:
    The idea would be to have it be transparent. Adding
on various output filters is hardly transparent.

Nor is having behavior depend on environment variables.

    As for env-vars.  What problems are you envisioning.

Shell scripts might stop working because the environment variables are not set up in the usual or desired way. This is a common problem with other environment variables. In the past, we've relied on the environment too often for relatively-unimportant things. We should not repeat this mistake.

    As for 'expand' handling the job -- how would
expand convert tabstops from 'du' into the tabstops used by
an arbitrary terminal?  For that matter, since directory and
file sizes often exceed 8-characters forcing du's output to not align, how can a
user have 'du' align it's columns
automatically, as my additions can do?

Send du's output to a file, look for the longest number in the file, and adjust column width accordingly. Whatever tabstops you like, you can tell to 'expand'. Expanding tabs is the job of 'expand', not of every program that outputs tabs.

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