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Plan 9 - man page for diff (plan9 section 1)

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DIFF(1) 										  DIFF(1)

       diff - differential file comparator

       diff [ -efbwr ] file1 ... file2

       Diff  tells  what lines must be changed in two files to bring them into agreement.  If one
       file is a directory, then a file in that directory with basename the same as that  of  the
       other  file  is	used.	If  both  files are directories, similarly named files in the two
       directories are compared by the method of diff for text files and  cmp(1)  otherwise.   If
       more than two file names are given, then each argument is compared to the last argument as
       above.  The -r option causes diff to process similarly named  subdirectories  recursively.
       The normal output contains lines of these forms:

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

       These  lines resemble ed commands to convert file1 into file2.  The numbers after the let-
       ters pertain to file2.  In fact, by exchanging `a' for `d' and reading  backward  one  may
       ascertain  equally  how to convert file2 into file1.  As in ed, identical pairs where n1 =
       n2 or n3 = n4 are abbreviated as a single number.

       Following each of these lines come all the lines that  are  affected  in  the  first  file
       flagged by `<', then all the lines that are affected in the second file flagged by `>'.

       The  -b option causes trailing blanks (spaces and tabs) to be ignored and other strings of
       blanks to compare equal.  The -w option causes all white-space to be  removed  from  input
       lines before applying the difference algorithm.

       The  -e	option	produces  a  script  of a, c and d commands for the editor ed, which will
       recreate file2 from file1.  The -f option produces a similar script, not useful	with  ed,
       in  the opposite order. It may, however, be useful as input to a stream-oriented post-pro-

       Except in rare circumstances, diff finds a smallest sufficient set of file differences.



       cmp(1), ed(1)

       Exit status is the empty string for no differences, for some, and for trouble.

       Editing scripts produced under the -e or -f option are naive about creating lines consist-
       ing of a single `.'.
       When running diff on directories, the notion of what is a text file is open to debate.

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