What is the linux command 'dt'?
October 6, 2008 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Obscure linux/unix text processing command: what is 'dt'?

I'm trying to figure out what one of my boss's data analysis scripts is doing, and I'm hung up on this weird little command called dt. There aren't any man or help pages for it, and googling around hasn't come up with anything.

The script I'm looking at reads in a formatted data file ('tmp') with X numbers of columns. Each row is a consecutive point in time. The line I'm stuck on reads as follows:

cat tmp | dt t 1 t 2 t 3 d 12

The numbers specify columns, but I'm not entirely sure what the 't' and 'd' arguments are doing there. I suspect the script is sorting the data in some fashion, and I could figure it out eventually (or, god forbid, ask the boss), but I'd like to know what the command is and where I can find more information about it.
posted by logicpunk to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Could you post here the results of 'uname -a' and 'which dt' executed in the same environment the script is running in? Could be it's a local executable and that's why you can't find anything about it.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:11 AM on October 6, 2008

strings `which dt` might give you some insight to where it came from as well (those are backticks, like the key above tab, not single quotes)
posted by SirStan at 10:13 AM on October 6, 2008

Maybe it's a local custom command? Try "which dt" and look at the file (ownership, timestamp, run "strings" on it, etc).
posted by hattifattener at 10:18 AM on October 6, 2008

(Note to self: use the "preview" button.)
posted by hattifattener at 10:19 AM on October 6, 2008

Thanks for the hints. It's an old unixstat package function... that'll give me some additional google fodder.
posted by logicpunk at 10:28 AM on October 6, 2008

I don't suppose you've tried man dt yet? I mean, I assume you have but I forget to do that all the time.
posted by Electrius at 10:29 AM on October 6, 2008

I have no idea if this is the right 'dt', but googling did point me here.
posted by cgg at 10:35 AM on October 6, 2008

cgg's link is the first result for putting "linux dt" into Google- did you even try that? It's got oodles of documentation linked to it.
posted by mkultra at 11:01 AM on October 6, 2008

I don't suppose you've tried man dt yet?

yup, tried that.

putting "linux dt" into Google- did you even try that?

yup, tried that.

Thanks again to Zed_Lopez, SirStan, and hattifattener - 'which dt' eventually led me to the directory this function lives in - it's part of an old (c. mid-1980s) stats package, which partly explains why googling for it failed. The 'dt' function tabulates data.
posted by logicpunk at 12:49 PM on October 6, 2008

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