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Alias TAIL for automatic smart output

Terminal - Alias TAIL for automatic smart output
alias tail='tail -n $((${LINES:-`tput lines 2>/dev/null||echo -n 80`} - 7))'
2012-03-22 02:44:11
User: AskApache
Functions: alias echo
2
Alias TAIL for automatic smart output

Run the alias command, then issue

ps aux | tail

and resize your terminal window (putty/console/hyperterm/xterm/etc) then issue the same command and you'll understand.

${LINES:-`tput lines 2>/dev/null||echo -n 12`}

Insructs the shell that if LINES is not set or null to use the output from `tput lines` ( ncurses based terminal access ) to get the number of lines in your terminal. But furthermore, in case that doesn't work either, it will default to using the default of 80.

The default for TAIL is to output the last 10 lines, this alias changes the default to output the last x lines instead, where x is the number of lines currently displayed on your terminal - 7. The -7 is there so that the top line displayed is the command you ran that used TAIL, ie the prompt.

Depending on whether your PS1 and/or PROMPT_COMMAND output more than 1 line (mine is 3) you will want to increase from -2. So with my prompt being the following, I need -7, or - 5 if I only want to display the commandline at the top. ( http://www.askapache.com/linux/bash-power-prompt.html )

275MB/748MB

[7995:7993 - 0:186] 06:26:49 Thu Apr 08 [[email protected]:/dev/pts/0 +1] ~

In most shells the LINES variable is created automatically at login and updated when the terminal is resized (28 linux, 23/20 others for SIGWINCH) to contain the number of vertical lines that can fit in your terminal window. Because the alias doesn't hard-code the current LINES but relys on the $LINES variable, this is a dynamic alias that will always work on a tty device.

Alternatives

There is 1 alternative - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
tail() { thbin="/usr/bin/tail"; if [ "${1:0:1}" != "-" ]; then fc=$(($#==0?1:$#)); lpf="$((($LINES - 3 - 2 * $fc) / $fc))"; lpf="$(($lpf<1?2:$lpf))"; [ $fc -eq 1 ] && $thbin -n $lpf "$@" | /usr/bin/fold -w $COLUMNS | $thbin -n $lpf || $thbin -n $lpf...
2012-03-23 19:00:30
User: fpunktk
Functions: tail
-1
tail() { thbin="/usr/bin/tail"; if [ "${1:0:1}" != "-" ]; then fc=$(($#==0?1:$#)); lpf="$((($LINES - 3 - 2 * $fc) / $fc))"; lpf="$(($lpf<1?2:$lpf))"; [ $fc -eq 1 ] && $thbin -n $lpf "$@" | /usr/bin/fold -w $COLUMNS | $thbin -n $lpf || $thbin -n $lpf "$@"; else $thbin "$@"; fi; unset lpf fc thbin; }

This is a function that implements an improved version of tail. It tries to limit the number of lines so that the screen is filled completely. It works with pipes, single and multiple files. If you add different options to tail, they will overwrite the settings from the function.

It doesn't work very well when too many files (with wrapped lines) are specified.

Its optimised for my three-line prompt.

It also works for head. Just s/tail/head/g

Don't set 'thbin="tail"', this might lead to a forkbomb.

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

# check the window size after each command and, if necessary, update the values of LINES and COLUMNS.

shopt -s checkwinsize

ps auxfwww

Comment by Tzunamii 246 weeks ago

If I understand correctly, this is basically to output a last page. And because of long lines (wider than terminal width COLUMNS), setting the number lines is not really helpful. The command you input may still be pushed out of screen because some lines will be wraped into two or three.

I prefer this something like:

ps aux | fold -w $COLUMNS | tail -n $((LINES - 2))

The only drawback is long lines are wrapped by adding line returns. So if you resize, the output will not look pretty. If you use tmux, it does not matter since tmux also wraps long lines with line returns.

Comment by livibetter 246 weeks ago

Your point of view

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