a place I put stuff

Don't zip, bundle(1)

Posted on March 2, 2011

I’ve been playing around with Plan 9 from Bell Labs a bunch lately. It takes the Unix idea that everything should have a file-like interface and runs with that to its logical (and surprisingly useful) extreme. It seems like a system that hangs together really well and has the feeling that it was actually designed, rather than grown. But that’s enough about that. What I wanted to mention was a script, bundle(1), that I found to be really useful. So, use the source, Luke!, and then I’ll say something about it:

Cool huh? It’s kinda meta but here’s what it does: when you run it like bundle file1 file2 > it outputs a script that when run will recreate file1 and file2. It does this with a few applications of sed. Using file1 and file2 as examples, say I have file1’s contents:


and file2 is:


after running bundle with these two files the contents of will look like this:

so, if you run this file, it prints “file1” and “file2” to the terminal, but then writes “hello” and “world” to file1 and file2, respectively (after having stripped the “-” off of each line using sed). So this is a neat little way to package up a bunch of text-ish files into a single “self-expanding” package.