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What’s GNU in Old Utilities, Part Three

Utility programs like cp have new features you may not have seen. Here’s the third in a series about some of the handiest.

Back in Unix Version 7, cp, mv, and ln had no options: they simply copied, renamed, or linked one or more files to a destination. Now, GNU cp has more than twenty options, and mv and ln aren’t far behind. Is this feature creep or innovation? You decide, though the sidebar “Lest We Forget” provides some perspective.

Let’s look at some of the major new features of these fundamental utilities — and some minor and individual features, too — added by GNU programmers and others.