The behaviour of systemctl.

Aaron Sowry aaron+rh at
Sat Jun 18 08:46:48 UTC 2011

On Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 04:31:08PM -0700, Jesse Keating wrote:
> The apps that I've seen where they do something special like paging the 
> output by default, will not do that if the output is a non-active tty, 
> such as a pipe.  When you pipe it into something it'll react differently.

Yes, and this is exactly the problem. When I run 'systemctl --all' on the tty, I get paging and column headers. When I pipe into something, I get no paging and no column headers. The assumption here is apparently that if the output is not going to tty then it is not destined for human eyes, which is an absolutely ridiculous assumption to make. If I output to a file so I can look at things later, I get no headers, and have no option to force them on non-tty output.

This alone may seem fairly trivial, but the problem is that there are many of these trivialities, all of which seem to stem from authors who either don't understand UNIX programming, or are actively choosing to ignore convention. Seriously, if anybody suggests that the solution to the above problem is to add a '--force-headers' flag, I think I'm going to start using Windows. We need to start having this discussion before more of this stupid behaviour starts finding its way into other core components of Fedora.

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