grep is always recursive

Smoot Carl-Mitchell smoot at
Wed Jan 28 13:57:43 UTC 2009

On Wed, 2009-01-28 at 07:14 -0500, Hal Burgiss wrote:

> b) I have read man man, and man grep and have not seen a hint that
> this syntax should be interpreted in any way other than how it
> logically reads (ie how I read it :). Possibly, the explanation is
> there explicitly, hinted at, or ambiguously stated, but if so, I
> missed it. If not, it would not take much just say in the description
> "put options anywhere you feel like on the command line" or whatever.
> One sentence wouldn't muddy the works. 

You can always set  POSIXLY_CORRECT in your environment and avoid the
problem in the future.  What is interesting about this case is I have
never encountered this problem with option processing before in over 30
years of using Unix/Linux systems.  I think it really is a corner case
in practice.

I do not think we want to change the documentation.  From a standards
perspective, we want to put options first and not encourage people to
place them willy-nilly on the command line.
Smoot Carl-Mitchell
Computer Systems and
Network Consultant
smoot at
+1 480 922 7313
cell: +1 602 421 9005

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