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Comparing and Merging Files with GNU diff and patch
by David MacKenzie, Paul Eggert, and Richard Stallman
Paperback (6"x9"), 120 pages
ISBN 0954161750
RRP £12.95 ($19.95)

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16.1 Options to sdiff

Below is a summary of all of the options that GNU sdiff accepts. Each option has two equivalent names, one of which is a single letter preceded by ‘-’, and the other of which is a long name preceded by ‘--’. Multiple single letter options (unless they take an argument) can be combined into a single command line argument. Long named options can be abbreviated to any unique prefix of their name.

-a
--text
Treat all files as text and compare them line-by-line, even if they do not appear to be text. See section 1.7 Binary Files and Forcing Text Comparisons.
-b
--ignore-space-change
Ignore changes in amount of white space. See section 1.2 Suppressing Differences in Blank and Tab Spacing.
-B
--ignore-blank-lines
Ignore changes that just insert or delete blank lines. See section 1.3 Suppressing Differences in Blank Lines.
-d
--minimal
Change the algorithm to perhaps find a smaller set of changes. This makes sdiff slower (sometimes much slower). See section 6 diff Performance Tradeoffs.
--diff-program=program
Use the compatible comparison program program to compare files instead of diff.
-E
--ignore-tab-expansion
Ignore changes due to tab expansion. See section 1.2 Suppressing Differences in Blank and Tab Spacing.
--help
Output a summary of usage and then exit.
-i
--ignore-case
Ignore changes in case; consider upper- and lower-case to be the same. See section 1.4 Suppressing Case Differences.
-I regexp
--ignore-matching-lines=regexp
Ignore changes that just insert or delete lines that match regexp. See section 1.5 Suppressing Lines Matching a Regular Expression.
-l
--left-column
Print only the left column of two common lines. See section 2.4.1 Controlling Side by Side Format.
-o file
--output=file
Put merged output into file. This option is required for merging.
-s
--suppress-common-lines
Do not print common lines. See section 2.4.1 Controlling Side by Side Format.
--speed-large-files
Use heuristics to speed handling of large files that have numerous scattered small changes. See section 6 diff Performance Tradeoffs.
--strip-trailing-cr
Strip any trailing carriage return at the end of an input line. See section 1.7 Binary Files and Forcing Text Comparisons.
-t
--expand-tabs
Expand tabs to spaces in the output, to preserve the alignment of tabs in the input files. See section 5.1 Preserving Tab Stop Alignment.
-v
--version
Output version information and then exit.
-w columns
--width=columns
Output at most columns (default 130) print columns per line. See section 2.4.1 Controlling Side by Side Format. Note that for historical reasons, this option is -W in diff, -w in sdiff.
-W
--ignore-all-space
Ignore white space when comparing lines. See section 1.2 Suppressing Differences in Blank and Tab Spacing. Note that for historical reasons, this option is -w in diff, -W in sdiff.
ISBN 0954161750Comparing and Merging Files with GNU diff and patchSee the print edition