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From "Ralf S. Engelschall" <>
Subject Re: cvs commit: apache-1.3/htdocs/manual invoking.html
Date Thu, 17 Dec 1998 15:43:09 GMT

In article <> you wrote:
> wrote,...

>>   Cleanup the command line options: `-?' was documented to show the usage list
>>   but does it with an error because `?' is not a valid command. OTOH a lot of
>>   users expect `-h' to print such a usage list and instead are annoyed for ages
>>   by our huge unreadable list of directives.  So we now changed the command line
>>   options this way:
>>    1. `-L' => `-R'
>>    2. `-h' => `-L'
>>    3. `-?' => `-h'

> I expect that this change will result in a roaring protest by long-term
> apache users. Incompatible changes like these (albeit justified)
> can mean the loss of many happy customers. 

I think you overstate it, Martin. The -L was used only in rare situations (it
exists only under SHARED_CORE which not much people use).  So the only
surprise for not informed users is that when they do the "httpd -h" instead of
the directive list they get the usage page. But there it's immediately
recognizeable for them that the directive list now can be get with -L.
So, even the above list looks like a large change, it isn't. 

> Wasn't there a way
> for a more defensive "compatible" approach (like, adding '?' to
> the getopt() option string)?

Sure, but this wouldn't change the fact that the users are still annoyed by -h
not doing what they would expect: giving help.

                                       Ralf S. Engelschall

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