- or -- (was: Re: [OS X TeX] MacTeX DVD has arrived (DANTE edition) =?iso-8859-1?Q?=96_What_should_be_paid_attention_for=3F?=)

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Wed Dec 10 13:23:44 CET 2008

Friedrich Vosberg schreef:

> What's generally the difference between an optional argument initiated
> by only *one* dash e.g.

single dash argument are known as 'short options', i.e. the name is just a
single letter. They can (frequently) be combined in a single argument:

zip -r9qv figures.zip *.pdf

is equavalent to

zip -r -9 -q -v figures.zip *.pdf

>   and an optional argument introduced by *two* dashes e.g.

These are long arguments, i.e. they use a descriptive name. Commonly each
short option will have a long variant, the reverse is not always true:
some options can only be accessed through long arguments.

I prefer long options are they are more descriptive. The long arguments
were (pretty much) introduced by the GNU project, most BSD utilities that
come with Mac OS X will only have short options, although Apple is slowly
moving over. New utilities often only have long options, and precede them
with a single hyphen, as there is no reason to distinguish between short
and long options.


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