I can see this discussion has somehow gone off on a tangent.
This approach was NOT (repeat: NOT) ever meant for USERS to see, much less use.
It is, temporarily, a way to:
- find out the cwd (e.g., by running 'pwd'), for example, in order to install some script you got from somewhere that needs to know where it is installed,
- unpack a gzipped tarball you just FTP'ed onto a site ('zcat whatever.tar.gz|tar -xvf -'),
- determine the version of perl you're running ('perl -V')
Once again, this is not for users. It is for me, the developer!
You can give a man a fish and feed him for a day ...
Or, you can teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime
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