Aliasing of commands

Spencer Collyer spencer at lasermount.uklinux.net
Tue Sep 24 00:52:57 PDT 2002


(I'm sending this to lfs-chat, because it's gotten OT for lfs-support. But
as I'm not subbed to lfs-chat I'll not see any responses :-} )

On Mon, 23 Sep 2002 20:25:38 -0600, Rob Park wrote:
> On Sunday 22 September 2002 01:56 pm, Spencer Collyer wrote:
> > > yes "y"|<whatever>
> > >
> > > Then it answers all the questions with "y".
> 
> Of course, there's also the -f option which overrides -i.
> 
> > I find the aliasing of 'cp', 'rm', and 'mv' to include the '-i' option
> > intensely annoying, and it can also (in some circumstances) be quite
> > dangerous. Dangerous because, if you move to someone else's account to
> > do some work, and they _don't_ have these aliases, you can delete or
> > overwrite stuff without any warnings. I prefer to have to manually
> > check for stuff myself before doing anything potentially destructive,
> > that way I don't get into the habit of having the machine check it for
> > me, and then getting caught out by my own laziness.
> 
> I hate this argument. It's so stupid. You seem to assume that if there
> is a number of files in a directory that I want to delete, and a number
> that I want to keep, I will simply "rm *", and answer "n" to the ones I
> want to keep. This is something that I do not do.

Nope, not assuming anything. If you did the above then that would be daft
(let's face it, everyone's gotten into the 'yes-loop' at some point, where
they just automatically hit 'y' to each question, which almost inevitably
leads to an 'Oh no!' moment...). It's just I find it much better (and
safer, IMHO) to check the pattern I'm going to use in a delete only picks
up the files I want _before_ I do the delete, rather than sitting there
hitting 'y' for each file, which can take much more effort - to me the
lazy way is to use the correct regex, not to accept or reject each file
individually. And on those rare occasions when I _do_ want to go through
the files individually I can just add the '-i' option to the command.

> ... Also, I never use any
> computer but my own, so the chances of using "someone else's account"
> are completely illusory.

Used to happen on a reasonably regular basis at the last place I worked.
If you only ever use your own computer it's not a problem.

I'm not against the use of aliases - heck, I use them all the time myself.
However, what I really don't like is giving the alias the same name as the
original command - if I type 'rm' in, I want it to do what 'rm' does on
every system, not what it happens to have been aliased to. If you want to
always use 'rm -i' use a different name, like 'rmi'. And ones that have
been set up by distro providers by default are even worse, because it
means that anyone who doesn't know the proper behaviour of the various
commands might never find them out, and just assume (say) that rm always
asks about each file in turn, which could cause all sorts of problems if
they use a system where that ain't so - like, for instance, someone who
has used a distro of Linux at home, then gets a job working on a Unix box.

S>

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