Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 440449
tail does not work when using + sign instead of - for number of lines
Last modified: 2008-04-03 14:18:04 EDT
tail (GNU coreutils) 6.9
Linux dv2727ca 22.214.171.124-50.fc8 #1 SMP Thu Mar 20 14:47:10 EDT 2008 i686 i686
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Run "cat /etc/passwd | head -3 | tail +2"
-tail: cannot open `+2' for reading: No such file or directory
2. Run "cat /etc/passwd | tail +3 | head -2"
-tail: cannot open `+3' for reading: No such file or directory
The error messages above
Tail to pass the last two lines of the first three in the first example, and
tail to pass the first three lines to head in the second example.
these commands work on all other systems i have tested it on. None of them are
It seems that tail doesn't like +2 on fedora but works on Ubuntu, SuSE and all
other linux systems i try it on.
Thanks for report, but it's not a bug.
If Ubuntu, SUSE and other linux systems works, it does mean that they have VERY
old coreutils package(behaviour changed in 2005) or they made fork from upstream
in this case. Both is bad idea, as the current way how Fedora coreutils handles
this command conforms to the latest POSIX and upstream.
There is easy workaround to make tail working with "obsolete syntax" ... Simply add
alias tail="_POSIX2_VERSION=199209 tail"
to .bashrc (or to other file at system level which accepts aliases).
You could read more in https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=287751 RHEL-5
bugzilla about that issue.