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bug#29069: bug#31043: [PATCH] changed presentation in 'File permissions'

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: bug#29069: bug#31043: [PATCH] changed presentation in 'File permissions' in 'numeric, modes'
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2018 12:55:19 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/52.7.0

On 04/11/2018 05:44 AM, kalle wrote:
I don't even know if this methodology of
encoding information (I mean "symbolical notation rwx for owner =
symbolical notation rwx = symbolical notation 111= interpreting 111
numerically in binary = transforming to numerical octal 7") is just used
in this special case or is used more generally throughout the GNU

The symbolic notation's primary use is in the core GNU (and POSIX) utilities. It was introduced in Unix (a predecessor to GNU/Linux) and is standardized by POSIX. The symbolic notation is not generally used elsewhere, so it's good to document it in the coreutils manual. In contrast, octal numbers are generally used throughout computing and mathematics, and we shouldn't have to explain them here.

I'd be more sympathetic if octal numbers were required. But users don't have to use them; they can use symbolic modes. That's what symbolic modes were invented for: to help users who don't understand or like octal. The documentation should exploit this, not fight it.

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