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Re: Error in find

From: James Youngman
Subject: Re: Error in find
Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2011 01:20:50 +0100

On Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 3:22 AM, Aayush Upadhyay
<address@hidden> wrote:
> Hey guys,
> A student in my CS class found an error in find.

It's OK for anybody to post to this mailing list, including students.

More specifically with regard to reporting bugs in programs, please
try to include at least this information:

1. What you did
2. What you expected to happen
3. What precisely did happen
4. Any relevant context information (for example software versions)

> "According to the man page,
>  expr1 -a expr2
>         Same as expr1 expr2.
> yet
>  % find -depth -a -depth
> gives an error message but
>  % find -depth -depth
> does not."
> Does the man page need to be updated, or is it as desired?

It's the intended behaviour, though arguably a confusing corner case.
 So that the context is clear for the list members who haven't seen
the message, here it is:

$ find -depth -a -depth >/dev/null
find: warning: you have specified the -depth option after a non-option
argument -a, but options are not positional (-depth affects tests
specified before it as well as those specified after it).  Please
specify options before other arguments.

$ find -depth  -depth >/dev/null

In the first of these two cases, the -a operator isn't an option and
the second appearance of -depth therefore triggers the warning
message.    In the second case, no non-option arguments at all are
parsed, and so the warning isn't issued.

I do agree that in this particular case this could be confusing, so if
your student would like to propose an update to the manual page, or a
specific change in the implementation, this mailing list would be the
place to do it.


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