LESSOPEN(1)                 General Commands Manual                LESSOPEN(1)

       lessfile, lesspipe - "input preprocessor" for  less.

       lessfile, lesspipe

       This manual page documents briefly the lessfile, and lesspipe commands.
       This manual page was written  for  the  Debian  GNU/Linux  distribution
       because the input preprocessor scripts are provided by Debian GNU/Linux
       and are not part of the original program.

       lessfile and lesspipe are programs that can be used to modify  the  way
       the  contents of a file are displayed in less.  What this means is that
       less can automatically open up tar files, uncompress gzipped files, and
       even display something reasonable for graphics files.

       lesspipe  will toss the contents/info on STDOUT and less will read them
       as they come across.  This means that you do not have to wait  for  the
       decoding  to  finish  before  less shows you the file.  This also means
       that you will get a 'byte N' instead of an N% as  your  file  position.
       You  can seek to the end and back to get the N% but that means you have
       to wait for the pipe to finish.

       lessfile will toss the contents/info on a file  which  less  will  then
       read.   After  you  are done, lessfile will then delete the file.  This
       means that the process has to finish before you see  it,  but  you  get
       nice percentages (N%) up front.

       Just  put  one of the following two commands in your login script (e.g.

         eval "$(lessfile)"


         eval "$(lesspipe)"

       File types are recognized by their extensions.  This is a list of  cur-
       rently supported extensions (grouped by the programs that handle them):

         *.deb, *.udeb, *.ddeb
         *.gif, *.jpeg, *.jpg, *.pcd, *.png, *.tga, *.tiff, *.tif
         *.iso, *.raw, *.bin
         *.lha, *.lzh
         *.tar.lz, *.tlz
         *.rar, *.r[0-9][0-9]
         *.tar.gz, *.tgz, *.tar.z, *.tar.dz
         *.gz, *.z, *.dz
         *.tar.xz, *.xz
         *.jar, *.war, *.xpi, *.zip

       It  is  possible to extend and overwrite the default lesspipe and less-
       file input processor if you have specialized  requirements.  Create  an
       executable  program with the name .lessfilter and put it into your home
       directory. This can be a shell script or a binary program.

       It is important that this program returns the correct exit code: return
       0  if  your  filter  handles  the  input,  return  1  if  the  standard
       lesspipe/lessfile filter should handle the input.

       Here is an example script:


         case "$1" in
                 extension-handler "$1"
                 # We don't handle this format.
                 exit 1

         # No further processing by lesspipe necessary
         exit 0

              Executable file that can do user defined processing. See section
              USER DEFINED FILTERS for more information.

       When  trying  to open compressed 0 byte files, less displays the actual
       binary file contents. This is not a bug.  less is designed to  do  that
       (see  manual  page  less(1),  section INPUT PREPROCESSOR).  This is the
       answer of Mark Nudelman <markn@greenwoodsoftware.com>:

              "I recognized when I designed it that a lesspipe  filter  cannot
              output an empty file and have less display nothing in that case;
              it's a side effect of using the "no output" case  to  mean  "the
              filter  has nothing to do".  It could have been designed to have
              some other mechanism to indicate "nothing to do", but  "no  out-
              put"  seemed  the simplest and most intuitive for lesspipe writ-

       Sometimes, less does not display the contents file you want to view but
       output   that   is   produced  by  your  login  scripts  (~/.bashrc  or
       ~/.bash_profile). This happens because less uses your current shell  to
       run the lesspipe filter. Bash first looks for the variable $BASH_ENV in
       the environment expands its value and  uses the expanded value  as  the
       name  of  a  file to read and execute. If this file produces any output
       less will display this. A way to solve this problem is to put the  fol-
       lowing lines on the top of your login script that produces output:

         if [ -z "$PS1" ]; then

       This  tests  whether  the  prompt  variable $PS1 is set and if it isn't
       (which is the case for non-interactive shells) it will exit the script.


       This manual page was written by  Thomas  Schoepf  <schoepf@debian.org>,
       for  the  Debian  GNU/Linux system (but may be used by others). Most of
       the text was copied  from  a  description  written  by  Darren  Stalder


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