[TUHS] 'Command subcommand ...' history

Arthur Krewat krewat at kilonet.net
Sat Mar 25 07:46:34 AEST 2017


The current SCCS certainly takes subcommands, but I have no idea if it 
started out that way.

ifconfig is more a set of flags than subcommands.

And don't get me started about dd - who wrote that anyway? Must have 
been an IBM guy :)

dd breaks all the norms for using shell wildcard expansions. You can't 
do: dd if=*.tar of=/dev/rmt/0cbn bs=128k

Assuming, of course, you only had one tar file you wanted to write to tape.



On 3/24/2017 11:42 AM, Tim Bradshaw wrote:
> Lots of tools now seem to use this strategy: there's some kind of wrapper which has its own set of commands (which in turn might have further subcommands).  So for instance
>
>      git remote add ...
>
> is a two layer thing.
>
> Without getting into an argument about whether that's a reasonable or ideologically-correct approach, I was wondering what the early examples of this kind of wrapper-command approach were.  I think the first time I noticed it was CVS, which made you say `cvs co ...` where RCS & SCCS had a bunch of individual commands (actually: did SCCS?).  But I think it's possible to argue that ifconfig was an earlier example of the same thing.  I was thinking about dd as well, but I don't think that's the same: they're really options not commands I think.
>
> Relatedly, does this style originate on some other OS?
>
> --tim
>
> (I realise that in the case of many of these things, particularly git, the wrapper is just dispatching to other tools that do the werk: it's the command style I'm interested in not how it's implemented.)
>



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