How to know what the capitalized letter means in [Y/n] – 108

I promised myself I’d be honest, brutally honest, about all the things I’ve had to learn. And one of them is about the capitalized letter when you’re presented with such a question in a command line interface.

I’ll admit I was typing in ‘Y’ as a response. Perhaps it wants me to be really sure. Kinda like when you want to get hot water out of a water cooler, you have to press 2 buttons or hold one button down, etc.

The capitalized letter is the default if you were to simply press enter.

For example, if you want to open VS as your external diff tool, as you saw in yesterday’s tip

$ git difftool branch-name file-name

Launch 'vsdiffmerge' [Y/n]?

You can simply press enter, and the vsdiffmerge command will be run!

3 thoughts on “How to know what the capitalized letter means in [Y/n] – 108

  1. LOL. It is one of those ancient customs that might not be explained anywhere :). I saw it in MS-DOS programs and I suspect it goes back to the beginnings of Unix, if not earlier. It’s like knowing the historical origin of the ASCII CR and LF control codes if you ever used a typewriter. I still use this in command-line programs of my devising..

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  2. > if you ever used a typewriter.

    Yes! I actually did learn how to use a typewriter! It was in middle school I think. I don’t recall the capitalized letter commands. But I do remember using white out!!

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