Decoded: GNU Coreutils (2018)

The GNU coreutils project aims to decode all of the utilities in version 8.3, providing a resource for novice programmers interested in exploring the design of command-line utilities. The project is divided into phases, with the first two phases complete. Phase 1 provides dedicated pages for each utility, discussing the namespace and execution overview, while Phase 2 expands on important design decisions and algorithms. The project also includes creating a source code evolution visualizer and a GitHub repository for line-by-line notes. The content highlights the age and design characteristics of the coreutils, as well as the use of POSIX and external help from the gnulib project. The common structures and functions used in the utilities, such as initialization, parsing with getopt, and traversing the file system with fts, are explained. The content also mentions the use of syscall wrappers and helpers, as well as C idioms found in the coreutils source code. The maintenance of the utilities, including project-wide changes and utility-specific updates, is discussed. Interested contributors are directed to the GNU project page for guidelines and valuable resources. The content also provides some trivia about the utilities, including the shortest and longest utilities, their history, and interesting implementations within them. The web page concludes with

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