[tex-k] - vs. -- for options

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Tue Jan 6 01:07:20 CET 2004

    There's a significant reason for --.  Traditionally Unix options

Yes, that is of course correct for traditional Unix programs, and is
indeed why -- (originally +) was chosen to introduce long option names.

However, it did not apply in the case of tex-k, because the TeX programs
never had (generally speaking) options in the first place, so there was
nothing to be incompatible with.  Therefore, for the Web2c programs,
-alt and --alt are equivalent (and mentioning this in the help message
was my original suggestion here), and there's no such thing as -a -l -t.

You can abbreviate [-]-alt to -a if there are no other options
starting with a, though.

All this is implemented in the standard GNU function getopt_long_only.

I doubt this is news to anyone ...

More information about the tex-k mailing list