diff man page on Ultrix

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diff(1)								       diff(1)

       diff - differential file comparator

       diff [options] dir1 dir2
       diff [options] file1 file2

       The  command  compares  the  contents  of files or groups of files, and
       lists any differences it finds. When run on  regular  files,  and  when
       comparing  text	files  that  differ during directory comparison, tells
       what lines must be changed in the files to bring them  into  agreement.
       Except  in  rare circumstances, finds a smallest sufficient set of file
       differences.  If neither file1 nor file2 is a  directory,  then	either
       can  be specified as `-', in which case the standard input is used.  If
       file1 is a directory, then a file in that directory whose  filename  is
       the  same  as  the filename of file2 is used and likewise if file2 is a

       If both arguments are directories, sorts the contents of	 the  directo‐
       ries  by	 name,	and then runs the regular file algorithm on text files
       that are different.  Binary files that differ,  common  subdirectories,
       and files that appear in only one directory are listed.

       The following options are used when comparing directories:

       -l	 Displays  the output in long format.  Each text file is piped
		 through to paginate  it;  other  differences  are  summarized
		 after all text file differences are reported.

       -n	 Produces a script similar to that of -e, but in reverse order
		 and with a count of changed lines on each  insert  or	delete

       -r	 Recursively checks files in common subdirectories.

       -s	 Displays names of files that are the same.

       -Sname	 Starts a directory in the middle beginning with the specified

       Except for the -b, i, t, and w options, which may be given with any  of
       the others, the following formatting options are mutually exclusive:

       -b	 Ignores  trailing  blanks  and	 other	strings	 of blanks and
		 treats such portions as equal.

       -c	 Displays three context lines  with  each  output  line.   For
		 backwards  compatibility,  -cn	 causes	 n  number  of context

       -C n	 Displays specified number of context lines with  each	output
		 line.	 With -c or -C the output format is modified slightly:
		 the output begins with identification of the  files  involved
		 and their creation dates and then each change is separated by
		 a line with a dozen asterisks (*).  The  lines	 removed  from
		 file1	are  marked  with minus sign (-); those added to file2
		 are marked plus sign (+).  Lines that are  changed  from  one
		 file  to  the other are marked in both files with an exclama‐
		 tion point (!).

		 Changes within n context lines	 of  each  other  are  grouped
		 together  in the output.  This results in output that is usu‐
		 ally much easier to interpret.

       -Dstring	 Causes to create a merged version of file1 and file2  on  the
		 standard  output.   With  C preprocessor controls included, a
		 compilation of the result without defining string is  equiva‐
		 lent  to  compiling  file1,  while defining string will yield

       -e	 Writes output to an script.  In connection with -e, the  fol‐
		 lowing shell program can help maintain multiple versions of a
		 file.	Only an ancestral file ($1) and a chain of version-to-
		 version  scripts  ($2,$3,...)	made  by need be available.  A
		 latest version message appears on the standard output.
		  (shift; cat $*; echo ´1,$p´) ⎪ ed - $1
		 If you specify -e when comparing directories the result is  a
		 script	 for  converting text files that are common to the two
		 directories from their state in dir1 to their state in dir2.

       -f	 Writes the output in reverse order to a script.

       -h	 Makes a hasty comparison.  It works only  when	 changed  por‐
		 tions are short and well separated, but does work on files of
		 unlimited length.

       -i	 Ignores the case of letters.  For example  'A'	 will  compare
		 equal to `a'.

       -t	 Expand	 tabs in output lines.	Normal or -c output adds char‐
		 acter(s) to the front of  each	 line  which  may  affect  the
		 indentation  of the original source lines and make the output
		 listing difficult to interpret.  This option  will  preserves
		 the original indentation.

       -w	 Causes	 whitespace  (blanks  and tabs) to be totally ignored.
		 For  example,	 `if ( a == b )'   will	  compare   equal   to

       There  are several options for output format; the default output format
       contains lines of these forms:

	    n1 a n3,n4
	    n1,n2 d n3
	    n1,n2 c n3,n4

       These lines resemble commands to convert file1 into file2.  The numbers
       after the letters pertain to file2.  In fact, by exchanging `a' for `d'
       and reading backward you can tell how to convert file2 into file1.   As
       in identical pairs where n1 = n2 or n3 = n4 are abbreviated as a single

       Following each of these lines come all the lines that are  affected  in
       the first file flagged by a left angle bracket (<).  Then all the lines
       that are affected in the second file are listed,	 flagged  by  a	 right
       angle bracket (>).

       Editing	scripts produced under the -e or -f option have trouble creat‐
       ing lines consisting of a single period (.).

       When comparing directories with the -b, i, t, or w  options  specified,
       first  compares	the files as does, and then runs the algorithm if they
       are not equal.  If the only differences are in the blank	 strings,  may
       report these as differences.

       Exit  status  is	 0 for no differences, 1 for some differences,and 2 if
       the specified file cannot be found.

       for		   -h

       See Also
	      cc(1), cmp(1), comm(1), diff3(1), ed(1)


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