Re: mc 4.7.0-pre1 marking directories with -/+/*

On Fri, 14 Aug 2009, Paul Hartman wrote:

On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 2:46 PM, Theodore
Kilgore<kilgota banach math auburn edu> wrote:

On Fri, 14 Aug 2009, Paul Hartman wrote:


I have used mc for years and can't live without it. :)

I recently updated to mc 4.7.0-pre1 so I can see what's new and the
first thing I noticed was now directories are marked as part of -/+/*
operations by default. For - and + there is a "Files Only" checkbox,
but I can find no such thing for *. I have three questions:

1) Can I make "Files Only" checkbox remember its setting?
2) Is there a setting to toggle whether * marks dirs?
3) Or maybe a global "Files Only" to make -/+/* behave like previous MC?

I also realize it's a -pre1 so maybe the options related to this new
functionality simply don't exist (yet) or are not in the UI.

I often use the Compare Directories function to compare files in two
directories, which marks the differences. In my case I actually want
to find the duplicates, so I would press * in one panel to invert the
selection and press F8 to delete the duplicate files... now it selects
the duplicates along with every subdirectory (since they were not
marked as part of the compare operation). It's not a big deal but if
there are many subdirectories it can take a while to un-mark them
(since there is no "Directories only" option in -/+ that I can find).

If you need more info, or if I should create a ticket instead, please
let me know.

Thanks for the great work!

I have not yet tried any pre- version, but I have been running a recent SVN
tree version for a while, now. The switch from marking files with
Cntrl-Alt-Plus to marking files _and_ directories is something which seems
to have come in recently. I have also found this change to be annoying,
irritating, inconvenient, and, under some circumstances, positively
dangerous (think of someone who wants to delete files and not recursively to
delete subdirectories, for example, or who wants to move all files but not
recursively to move all subdirectories from an FTP site and discovers that
one has initiated a very different course of action and it is too late to
stop it!).

I think it is natural that one might naturally want to mark files for some
purpose, and not sudirectories. Why change a thing like that?

There are certainly times when I would want it to mark subdirectories,
and it is indeed something I have desired MC to have -- I'd just like
to be able to decide when it will include dirs and when it won't. I
like having options. :)


What you say has its merits and attractions. But for me that has not been a problem. Far more frequently, I need to mark the files and not the directories. But when I want to mark the directories, too, there is the Insert key. Just start at the top of the tree, in the directory of interest, and hold it down. Then it will cause the first directory present to be marked and will march downward, marking the rest of them. It is far more irritating (and, as I said, sometimes dangerous because a years-old and therefore expected and habitual pattern has been broken) to have to _remember_ to use the insert key to _unmark_ the directories after the Keypad-Plus has marked them, in the eventuality that you only want (for example) to delete everything that was just marked.

Perhaps you are right, though and it would be better to have some additional key combination which would mark everything in sight. Perhaps, Cntrl-Keypad-Plus or Shift-keypad-Plus would be good for that. But to change suddenly the behavior of something well established is, in my opinion, a thing which is bad in itself. It brings up problems similar to the fact that, with my wifes car, one twists the turn signal handle to turn on the windshield wiper The corresponding twist of the same handle on my car turns the headlights off! I see no need to emulate that kind of behavior in software.

Theodore Kilgore

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