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2004/10/19 less

© October 2004 Tony Lawrence

As they say, less is more, both in terms of it having the same function and because it really is:

-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root       131724 Sep  1  2003 /usr/bin/less
-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root        26524 Sep 25  2003 /bin/more

(On other systems, "less" and "more" may be identical).

Because of more than 20 years of using "more", I can't get my mind or fingers used to "less". Of course, I still catch a deep whisper of "Control Zero" in my mind when I type a "|"; a habit that came from years of Tandy Xenix work.

I do appreciate that less really is more. But its not so much more that I really care. Being able to move backwards in a file doesn't do it for me: if I want to move around, I'm going to use vi or view. Hitting F for follow mode is unlikely: if I wanted a "tail -f" why would I start with "less"?

For me, "less" is not more and probably never will be. Except on my Mac, where "more" is "less".

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On my OSR5 box, more and less are both links in /usr/bin, pointing to /opt/K/SCO/Unix/5.0.6Ga/usr/bin/more.

I personally find some of the added features of less to be useful -- being able to back scroll with "ls -l | more" is particularly beneficial. Also, the "v" command to edit a file being viewed is convenient.

Be that as it may, I'm more or less (pun intended) a UNIX traditionalist who believes individual commands should be reasonably terse in what they do. I am always mindful of the "creeping featurism" problem that some Linux-derived programs seem to suffer. less (or more) is getting perilously close to that condition.


---October 19, 2004

You've always had "v" in more.. nothing new about that.


True, although prior to the advent of the less version of more, I was a pg user -- mainly because it could page backward.



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