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I am happy to announce a stable release of the GNU coreutils.
The GNU coreutils package is the combination of and replacement for
the fileutils, sh-utils, and textutils packages. This package
contains the following programs:
[ basename cat chgrp chmod chown chroot cksum comm cp csplit cut
date dd df dir dircolors dirname du echo env expand expr factor
false fmt fold groups head hostid hostname id install join kill
link ln logname ls md5sum mkdir mkfifo mknod mv nice nl nohup od
paste pathchk pinky pr printenv printf ptx pwd readlink rm rmdir
seq sha1sum shred sleep sort split stat stty su sum sync tac tail
tee test touch tr true tsort tty uname unexpand uniq unlink uptime
users vdir wc who whoami yes
The rest of this message is a summary of the changes since
coreutils-5.0, the previous stable release. For the more details
and attributions, see the various ChangeLog files.
Major changes in release 5.2.0 (2004-02-19) [stable]
Major changes in release 5.1.3 (2004-02-08): candidate to
become stable 5.2.0
`cp -d' now works as required even on systems like OSF V5.1 that
declare stat and lstat as `static inline' functions.
time stamps output by stat now include actual fractional
seconds, when available -- or .0000000 for files without that
seq no longer infloops when printing 2^31 or more numbers. For
reference, seq `echo 2^31|bc` > /dev/null takes about one hour
on a 1.6 GHz Athlon 2000 XP. Now it can output 2^53-1 numbers
Major changes in release 5.1.2 (2004-01-25):
rmdir -p exits with status 1 on error; formerly it sometimes
exited with status 0 when given more than one argument.
nohup now always exits with status 127 when it finds an error,
as POSIX requires; formerly it sometimes exited with status 1.
Several programs (including cut, date, dd, env, hostname, nl,
pr, stty, and tr) now always exit with status 1 when they find an
error; formerly they sometimes exited with status 2.
factor no longer reports a usage error if stdin has the wrong
paste no longer infloops on ppc systems (bug introduced in
Major changes in release 5.1.1 (2004-01-17):
You can select the default level of POSIX conformance at
configure-time, e.g., by ./configure
fold -s works once again on systems with differing sizes for int
and size_t (bug introduced in 5.1.0)
touch -r now specifies the origin for any relative times in the
-d operand, if both options are given. For example, "touch -r FOO
-d '-5 seconds' BAR" sets BAR's modification time to be five
seconds before FOO's.
join: The obsolete options "-j1 FIELD", "-j2 FIELD", and "-o
LIST1 LIST2..." are no longer supported on POSIX 1003.1-2001
systems. Portable scripts should use "-1 FIELD", "-2 FIELD", and
"-o LIST1,LIST2..." respectively. If join was compiled on a POSIX
1003.1-2001 system, you may enable the old behavior by setting
_POSIX2_VERSION=199209 in your environment.
Major changes in release 5.1.0 (2003-12-21):
chgrp, chmod, and chown can now process (with -R) hierarchies of
virtually unlimited depth. Before, they would fail to operate on
any file they encountered with a relative name of length PATH_MAX
(often 4096) or longer.
chgrp, chmod, chown, and rm accept the new options:
--preserve-root, --no-preserve-root (default)
chgrp and chown now accept POSIX-mandated -L, -H, and -P
du can now process hierarchies of virtually unlimited depth.
Before, du was limited by the user's stack size and it would get a
stack overflow error (often a segmentation fault) when applied to a
hierarchy of depth around 30,000 or larger.
du works even when run from an inaccessible directory
du -D now dereferences all symlinks specified on the command
line, not just the ones that reference directories
du now accepts -P (--no-dereference), for compatibility with du
of NetBSD and for consistency with e.g., chown and chgrp
du's -H option will soon have the meaning required by POSIX
(--dereference-args, aka -D) rather then the current meaning of
--si. Now, using -H elicits a warning to that effect.
When given -l and similar options, ls now adjusts the output
column widths to fit the data, so that output lines are shorter and
have columns that line up better. This may adversely affect shell
scripts that expect fixed-width columns, but such shell scripts
were not portable anyway, even with old GNU ls where the columns
became ragged when a datum was too wide.
du accepts a new option, -0/--null, to make it produce
NUL-terminated output lines
printf, seq, tail, and sleep now parse floating-point operands
and options in the C locale. POSIX requires this for printf.
od -c -w9999999 no longer segfaults
csplit no longer reads from freed memory (dumping core on some
csplit would mistakenly exhaust virtual memory in some cases
ls --width=N (for very large N) is no longer subject to an
address arithmetic bug that could result in bounds violations.
ls --width=N (with -x or -C) no longer allocates more space
(potentially much more) than necessary for a given directory.
dd `unblock' and `sync' may now be combined (e.g., dd
Major changes in release 5.0.91 (2003-09-08):
date accepts a new option --rfc-2822, an alias for
split accepts a new option -d or --numeric-suffixes.
cp, install, mv, and touch now preserve microsecond resolution
on file timestamps, on platforms that have the 'utimes' system
call. Unfortunately there is no system call yet to preserve file
timestamps to their full nanosecond resolution; microsecond
resolution is the best we can do right now.
sort now supports the zero byte (NUL) as a field separator; use
-t ''. The -t '' option, which formerly had no effect, is now an
sort option order no longer matters for the options -S, -d, -i,
-o, and -t. Stronger options override weaker, and incompatible
options are diagnosed.
`sha1sum --check' now accepts the BSD format for SHA1 message
digests in addition to the BSD format for MD5 ones.
who -l now means `who --login', not `who --lookup', per POSIX.
who's -l option has been eliciting an unconditional warning about
this impending change since sh-utils-2.0.12 (April 2002).
Mistakenly renaming a file onto itself, e.g., via `mv B b' when
`B' is the same directory entry as `b' no longer destroys the
directory entry referenced by both `b' and `B'. Note that this
would happen only on file systems like VFAT where two different
names may refer to the same directory entry, usually due to
lower->upper case mapping of file names. Now, the above can
happen only on file systems that perform name mapping and that
support hard links (stat.st_nlink > 1). This mitigates the
problem in two ways: few file systems appear to be affected (hpfs
and ntfs are), when the bug is triggered, mv no longer removes the
last hard link to a file.
ATTENTION ***: if you know how to distinguish the following two
cases without writing to the file system in question, please let me
B and b refer to the same directory entry on a file system like
NTFS (B may well have a link count larger than 1)
B and b are hard links to the same file
stat no longer overruns a buffer for format strings ending in
fold -s -wN would infloop for N < 8 with TABs in the input.
E.g., this would not terminate: printf 'at' | fold -w2 -s
`split -a0', although of questionable utility, is accepted once
`df DIR' used to hang under some conditions on OSF/1 5.1. Now it
seq's --width (-w) option now works properly even when the
endpoint requiring the larger width is negative and smaller than
the other endpoint.
seq's default step is 1, even if LAST < FIRST.
paste no longer mistakenly outputs 0xFF bytes for a nonempty
input file without a trailing newline.
`tail -n0 -f FILE' and `tail -c0 -f FILE' no longer perform what
amounted to a busy wait, rather than sleeping between
tail's long-undocumented --allow-missing option now elicits a
Major changes in release 5.0.90 (2003-07-29):
sort is now up to 30% more CPU-efficient in some cases
`test' is now more compatible with Bash and POSIX:
`test -t', `test --help', and `test --version' now silently exit
with status 0. To test whether standard output is a terminal, use
`test -t 1'. To get help and version info for `test', use `[
--help' and `[ --version'.
`test' now exits with status 2 (not 1) if there is an error.
wc count field widths now are heuristically adjusted depending
on the input size, if known. If only one count is printed, it is
guaranteed to be printed without leading spaces.
Previously, wc did not align the count fields if POSIXLY_CORRECT
was set, but POSIX did not actually require this undesirable
behavior, so it has been removed.
kill no longer tries to operate on argv (introduced in 5.0.1)
Why wasn't this noticed? Although many tests use kill, none of them
made an effort to avoid using the shell's built-in kill.
`[' invoked with no arguments no longer evokes a segfault
rm without --recursive (aka -r or -R) no longer prompts
regarding unwritable directories, as required by POSIX.
uniq -c now uses a SPACE, not a TAB between the count and the
corresponding line, as required by POSIX.
expr now exits with status 2 if the expression is syntactically
valid, and with status 3 if an error occurred. POSIX requires
expr now reports trouble if string comparison fails due to a
split now generates suffixes properly on EBCDIC hosts.
split -a0 now works, as POSIX requires.
`sort --version' and `sort --help' fail, as they should when
their output is redirected to /dev/full.
`su --version > /dev/full' now fails, as it should.
Fewer arbitrary limitations
cut requires 97% less memory when very large field numbers or
byte offsets are specified.
Major changes in release 5.0.1 (2003-07-15):
new program: `[' (much like `test')
head now accepts --lines=-N (--bytes=-N) to print all but the N
lines (bytes) at the end of the file
md5sum --check now accepts the output of the BSD md5sum program,
e.g., MD5 (f) = d41d8cd98f00b204e9800998ecf8427e
date -d DATE can now parse a DATE string like May-23-2003
chown: `.' is no longer recognized as a separator in the
OWNER:GROUP specifier on POSIX 1003.1-2001 systems. If chown
was not compiled on such a system, then it still accepts
`.', by default. If chown was compiled on a POSIX 1003.1-2001
system, then you may enable the old behavior by setting
_POSIX2_VERSION=199209 in your environment.
chown no longer tries to preserve set-user-ID and set-group-ID
bits; on some systems, the chown syscall resets those bits, and
previous versions of the chown command would call chmod to restore
the original, pre-chown(2) settings, but that behavior is
There was a window whereby a malicious user, M, could subvert a
chown command run by some other user and operating on files in a
directory where M has write access.
Before (and even now, on systems with chown(2) that doesn't
reset those bits), an unwary admin. could use chown unwittingly to
create e.g., a set-user-ID root copy of /bin/sh.
chown --dereference no longer leaks a file descriptor per
`du /' once again prints the `/' on the last line
split's --verbose option works once again [broken in 4.5.10 and
tail -f is no longer subject to a race condition that could make
it delay displaying the last part of a file that had stopped
growing. That bug could also make tail -f give an unwarranted `file
du no longer runs out of file descriptors unnecessarily
df and `readlink --canonicalize' no longer corrupt the heap on
non-glibc, non-solaris systems
`env -u UNSET_VARIABLE' no longer dumps core on non-glibc
readlink's --canonicalize option now works on systems like
Solaris that lack the canonicalize_file_name function but do have
mv now removes `a' in this example on all systems: touch a; ln a
b; mv a b This behavior is contrary to POSIX (which requires that
the mv command do nothing and exit successfully), but I suspect
POSIX will change.
date's %r format directive now honors locale settings
date's `-' (no-pad) format flag now affects the
space-padded-by-default conversion specifiers, %e, %k, %l
fmt now diagnoses invalid obsolescent width specifications like
fmt now exits nonzero when unable to open an input file
tsort now fails when given an odd number of input tokens, as
required by POSIX. Before, it would act as if the final token
appeared one additional time.
Fewer arbitrary limitations
tail's byte and line counts are no longer limited to OFF_T_MAX.
Now the limit is UINTMAX_MAX (usually 2^64).
split can now handle --bytes=N and --lines=N with N=2^31 or
`kill -t' now prints signal descriptions (rather than `?') on
systems like Tru64 with __sys_siglist but no strsignal
stat.c now compiles on Ultrix systems
sleep now works on AIX systems that lack support for
rm now works around Darwin6.5's broken readdir function Before
`rm -rf DIR' would fail to remove all files in DIR if there were
more than 338.