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Two-letter options?

From: Daniel Stenberg via curl-users <>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2022 10:38:20 +0100 (CET)


Over on Twitter, Leah Neukirchen brought an interesting idea for curl command
line options.

We have basically run out of single-letter options (practically speaking only
-W, -5, -7, -8, -9 are left usused), making all new options forced to be long
versions only. Like the newly introduced --remove-on-error [1].

The proposal is that we "repurpose" using *two* boolean single-letter options
and give them a unique meaning. For example, we can make "-ff" to mean
something, or "-ss", "-aa" etc.

Using this method we could make -ff equal to --remove-on-error while still
having -f mean --fail.

There is for sure a small set of users somewhere that use "-ff" already, that
now are just setting --fail twice, and those would be negatively affected by
such a change.

Another, maybe slightly uglier but safer as it wouldn't risk any existing
duplicate option using users, way to introduce two-letter options is to use
one of the currently unused characters. -f9 could be made to mean
--remove-on-error. The use of an adjacent '9' could then be used to extend any
single-letter option to make a two-letter option. Or we could prefix it with a
'9' and make a new family of ~60 available two-letter options like '-9f' (and
'9' here could of course be 'W' instead etc).


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Received on 2022-03-11