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identify SCCS keyword strings in files

Project description


pip install pnu-what



what - identify SCCS keyword strings in files


what [-qs] [--debug] [--help|-?] [--version] [--] [file ...]


The what utility searches each specified file for sequences of the form "@(#)" as inserted by the SCCS source code control system. It prints the remainder of the string following this marker, up to a NUL character, newline, double quote, ‘>’ character, or backslash.


The following options are available:

Options Use
-q Only output the match text, rather than formatting it
-s Stop searching each file after the first match
--debug Enable debug mode
--help|-? Print usage and a short help message and exit
--version Print version and exit
-- Options processing terminator


The WHAT_DEBUG environment variable can be set to any value to enable debug mode.

The FLAVOUR or WHAT_FLAVOUR environment variables can be set to one of the following values, to implement only the corresponding options and behaviours.

However, if the POSIXLY_CORRECT environment variable is set to any value, then the POSIX flavour will be selected.


Exit status is 0 if any matches were found, otherwise 1.


ident(1), strings(1)


The what utility is a standard UNIX/POSIX command.

It conforms to IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (“POSIX.1”). The -q option is a non-standard FreeBSD extension which may not be available on other operating systems.

This re-implementation tries to follow the PEP 8 style guide for Python code.


Tested OK under Windows.


The what command appeared in UNIX Programmer's Workbench (PWB/UNIX) 1.0 in 1977, and was probably written by Marc J. Rochkind along with the rest of the Source Code Control System (SCCS).

The BSD version appeared in 4.0BSD in October 1980 and was rewritten because SCCS was not licensed with Version 32V AT&T UNIX.

This re-implementation was made for the PNU project.


It is available under the 3-clause BSD license.


Hubert Tournier

This manual page is based on the one written for FreeBSD.

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