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The format for running the
diff command is:
diff options... files...
In the simplest case, two file names from-file and
to-file are given, and
diff compares the contents of
from-file and to-file. A file name of `-' stands for
text read from the standard input. As a special case, `diff - -'
compares a copy of standard input to itself.
If one file is a directory and the other is not,
the file in the directory whose name is that of the non-directory.
The non-directory file must not be `-'.
If two file names are given and both are directories,
diff compares corresponding files in both directories, in
alphabetical order; this comparison is not recursive unless the
`-r' or `--recursive' option is given.
compares the actual contents of a directory as if it were a file. The
file that is fully specified may not be standard input, because standard
input is nameless and the notion of "file with the same name" does not
If the `--from-file=file' option is given, the number of file names is arbitrary, and file is compared to each named file. Similarly, if the `--to-file=file' option is given, each named file is compared to file.
diff options begin with `-', so normally file names
may not begin with `-'. However, `--' as an
argument by itself treats the remaining arguments as file names even if
they begin with `-'.
An exit status of 0 means no differences were found, 1 means some differences were found, and 2 means trouble.
13.1 Options to
Summary of options to
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