moreutils in standard?

Colin Watson cjwatson at
Thu Nov 15 16:55:56 GMT 2007

moreutils is a handy package, maintained upstream by Joey Hess in
Debian, advertised as "a growing collection of the unix tools that
nobody thought to write thirty years ago". In general approach many of
its tools are like those in coreutils, just different and filling holes
many of us who use terminals a lot have probably been working around for
years. It's tiny, a 38KB .deb.

I think it would make an excellent addition to the standard seed. If we
put it there, then I bet over time we'd be able to simplify a good deal
of advice given to users. For example, we could advise the use of
'sponge' to edit files in-place without the need for a temporary file;
use 'combine' to compare files line-by-line using a much more obvious
syntax than that offered by 'join' (I just gave this advice to somebody
on IRC today); make use of 'lckdo' in our own scripts to conveniently
wrap a single program in a lock; and so on.

I realise we can't dump everything that's convenient for terminal users
into standard, but I think the charter of moreutils is very appropriate
for the "Comfortable Unix System" section, and it doesn't seem likely to
pose any kind of size problem. What do other folks think?

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at]

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