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What is the "-format" file ?

 
 
Alan Browne
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      05-03-2012, 09:05 PM
There is a file called -format in my user folder

Users/myaccountname/-folder

It is largish at 9.15 GB.

Does anyone know what it is? It was created recently.

Thanks.
--
"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."
-Samuel Clemens.

 
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Alan Browne
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      05-03-2012, 09:19 PM
On 2012-05-03 17:05 , Alan Browne wrote:
> There is a file called -format in my user folder
>
> Users/myaccountname/-folder


er Users/myaccountname/-format

>
> It is largish at 9.15 GB.
>
> Does anyone know what it is? It was created recently.
>
> Thanks.



--
"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."
-Samuel Clemens.


 
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Wes Groleau
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      05-04-2012, 02:49 AM
On 05-03-2012 17:05, Alan Browne wrote:
> There is a file called -format in my user folder
>
> Users/myaccountname/-folder
>
> It is largish at 9.15 GB.
>
> Does anyone know what it is? It was created recently.


Most likely the result of using -format as a command line option to a
script or app which didn't recognize it and assumed it was a filename.

--
Wes Groleau

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”
— Socrates

 
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Jim Gibson
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      05-04-2012, 05:16 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Alan Browne <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> There is a file called -format in my user folder
>
> Users/myaccountname/-format (corrected in later post)
>
> It is largish at 9.15 GB.
>
> Does anyone know what it is? It was created recently.


Try running the file utility on the file this way using the Terminal
command-line in your home directory (where 'ls' shows the file):

cat > file.txt
-format
^D

(where ^D is Control-D: holding the control key while typing d)

file -f file.txt

Note that the above manipulations are necessary because the string
-format will be interpreted by most command-line utilities as an option
and not as a file name. Even surrounding the string in quotes will not
help, as that just protects the string from interpretation by the shell.
Fortunately the file utility has the ability to read file names from an
auxiliary file. Hence the above will work.
 
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Richard Maine
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      05-04-2012, 05:46 PM
Jim Gibson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Try running the file utility on the file this way using the Terminal
> command-line in your home directory (where 'ls' shows the file):
>
> cat > file.txt
> -format
> ^D
>
> (where ^D is Control-D: holding the control key while typing d)
>
> file -f file.txt
>
> Note that the above manipulations are necessary because the string
> -format will be interpreted by most command-line utilities as an option
> and not as a file name. Even surrounding the string in quotes will not
> help, as that just protects the string from interpretation by the shell.
> Fortunately the file utility has the ability to read file names from an
> auxiliary file. Hence the above will work.


A much simpler workaround to avoid unintended interpretation of file
names like that as switches is to use a pathname instead of a simple
file name. In this case, do something like

file ./-format

where the "." means current directory. This trick of prefixing a file
name with "./" to specify it as a path gets used in lots of contexts.
For example, that's the usual trick to run an executable from the
current directory if you avoid having the current directory in your PATH
environment variable. This is done a lot by people doing development
work.

--
Richard Maine | Good judgment comes from experience;
email: last name at domain . net | experience comes from bad judgment.
domain: summertriangle | -- Mark Twain
 
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Jim Gibson
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      05-04-2012, 06:42 PM
In article <1kjkg7v.jeejrp1jht36qN%(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed)ure (Richard Maine) wrote:

> Jim Gibson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > Try running the file utility on the file this way using the Terminal
> > command-line in your home directory (where 'ls' shows the file):
> >
> > cat > file.txt
> > -format
> > ^D
> >
> > (where ^D is Control-D: holding the control key while typing d)
> >
> > file -f file.txt
> >
> > Note that the above manipulations are necessary because the string
> > -format will be interpreted by most command-line utilities as an option
> > and not as a file name. Even surrounding the string in quotes will not
> > help, as that just protects the string from interpretation by the shell.
> > Fortunately the file utility has the ability to read file names from an
> > auxiliary file. Hence the above will work.

>
> A much simpler workaround to avoid unintended interpretation of file
> names like that as switches is to use a pathname instead of a simple
> file name. In this case, do something like
>
> file ./-format
>
> where the "." means current directory. This trick of prefixing a file
> name with "./" to specify it as a path gets used in lots of contexts.
> For example, that's the usual trick to run an executable from the
> current directory if you avoid having the current directory in your PATH
> environment variable. This is done a lot by people doing development
> work.


Thanks, I should have thought of that approach. Another method would be
to use the full path (' file /User/myname/-format'), which is easy to do
in Terminal by typing 'file ' (with a space) and then dragging an icon
of the file from a Finder window into the Terminal window.
 
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Alan Browne
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      05-04-2012, 09:05 PM
On 2012-05-03 18:17 , Jolly Roger wrote:
> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
> Alan Browne <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> There is a file called -format in my user folder
>>
>> Users/myaccountname/-folder
>>
>> It is largish at 9.15 GB.
>>
>> Does anyone know what it is? It was created recently.
>>
>> Thanks.

>
> I'm wondering if it's the result of some command line you issued. What
> does file /Users/myaccountname/-format tell you about it? How about head
> /Users/myaccountname/-format?


Ah, you got me going down the right path.

Finally got a peek inside the file ( { more < -format } as { more
"-format" } did not work ).

Lots of JPEG-ish 'binary' punctuated with occasional text filenames.

Remember my question about xtar (that nobody replied to)?

Those correspond to filenames from an external disk folder that I was
attempting to span onto DVD using tar (did not work - but did run and
consume CPU for a while before I clobbered it after realizing it was not
writing to DVD).

The subdir in WinXP had about 20 GB in it. The date of -format seems
about right as I was looking up tar commands on the same date in Chrome
and that shows in Chrome's history.

How it got the name "-format" is still a mystery as that was not in the
command line. Maybe a temp file from VMWare Fusion.

Deleted it.

--
"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."
-Samuel Clemens.


 
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Alan Browne
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      05-04-2012, 09:06 PM
On 2012-05-04 13:16 , Jim Gibson wrote:
> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
> Alan Browne <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> There is a file called -format in my user folder
>>
>> Users/myaccountname/-format (corrected in later post)
>>
>> It is largish at 9.15 GB.
>>
>> Does anyone know what it is? It was created recently.

<snip>


> Note that the above manipulations are necessary because the string
> -format will be interpreted by most command-line utilities as an option
> and not as a file name. Even surrounding the string in quotes will not
> help, as that just protects the string from interpretation by the shell.


Already saw that - see my other post. To list the file I used:

more < -format

Showing it to be a file composed of JPEG files.

(See my other post).


--
"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."
-Samuel Clemens.


 
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Alan Browne
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      05-04-2012, 09:07 PM
On 2012-05-04 13:46 , Richard Maine wrote:
> Jim Gibson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> Try running the file utility on the file this way using the Terminal
>> command-line in your home directory (where 'ls' shows the file):
>>
>> cat > file.txt
>> -format
>> ^D
>>
>> (where ^D is Control-D: holding the control key while typing d)
>>
>> file -f file.txt
>>
>> Note that the above manipulations are necessary because the string
>> -format will be interpreted by most command-line utilities as an option
>> and not as a file name. Even surrounding the string in quotes will not
>> help, as that just protects the string from interpretation by the shell.
>> Fortunately the file utility has the ability to read file names from an
>> auxiliary file. Hence the above will work.

>
> A much simpler workaround to avoid unintended interpretation of file
> names like that as switches is to use a pathname instead of a simple
> file name. In this case, do something like
>
> file ./-format
>
> where the "." means current directory. This trick of prefixing a file
> name with "./" to specify it as a path gets used in lots of contexts.
> For example, that's the usual trick to run an executable from the
> current directory if you avoid having the current directory in your PATH
> environment variable. This is done a lot by people doing development
> work.


Great! Solves it (see my reply to JR). (I listed the file to terminal
to get an idea of the contents using: more < -format to get around
the "-". Details in reply to JR.

But with the "file" command as you provide it proves it's what I
suspected, a tar file that I intended to span onto several DVD's.

result of file ./-format
../-format: POSIX tar archive

Why it went where it went (prep for burn to DVD?) and why it was named
"-format" are two left over mysteries.

Deleted.

Thanks JR, Jim and Richard.

--
"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."
-Samuel Clemens.


 
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Alan Browne
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-04-2012, 09:27 PM
On 2012-05-04 17:05 , Alan Browne wrote:
> On 2012-05-03 18:17 , Jolly Roger wrote:
>> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
>> Alan Browne <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>> There is a file called -format in my user folder
>>>
>>> Users/myaccountname/-folder
>>>
>>> It is largish at 9.15 GB.
>>>
>>> Does anyone know what it is? It was created recently.
>>>
>>> Thanks.

>>
>> I'm wondering if it's the result of some command line you issued. What
>> does file /Users/myaccountname/-format tell you about it? How about head
>> /Users/myaccountname/-format?

>
> Ah, you got me going down the right path.
>
> Finally got a peek inside the file ( { more < -format } as { more
> "-format" } did not work ).
>
> Lots of JPEG-ish 'binary' punctuated with occasional text filenames.
>
> Remember my question about xtar (that nobody replied to)?
>
> Those correspond to filenames from an external disk folder that I was
> attempting to span onto DVD using tar (did not work - but did run and
> consume CPU for a while before I clobbered it after realizing it was not
> writing to DVD).
>
> The subdir in WinXP had about 20 GB in it. The date of -format seems


(Let me clarify that - the folder I was working on had been copied out
of the WinXP VM to an external disk)

> about right as I was looking up tar commands on the same date in Chrome
> and that shows in Chrome's history.
>
> How it got the name "-format" is still a mystery as that was not in the
> command line. Maybe a temp file from VMWare Fusion.
>
> Deleted it.
>



--
"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."
-Samuel Clemens.


 
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