Annoying mtools inconsistency

I hate upgrading Ubuntu, because every time I upgrade, something breaks. Sometimes it's small things, sometimes not so small. For instance, the last time I tried upgrading to a newer version of KDE 4, I ended up irreparably borking the installation and just switching to GNOME. (And by "irreparably", I mean messing it up bad enough that I had neither the time nor inclination to repair it.) Interestingly, the change was much less disruptive than I thought. Apparently I just don't care that much about desktop integration anymore. Chalk it up to switching back and forth between platforms all the time.

Anyway, this time the breakage was in the permission fixing script for my Sansa e280 MP3 player. The short version is that when the script ran mattrib -h to clear the "hidden" attrbiute on a directory, it just printed out the mattrib usage message, despite the fact that there was no error in the command syntax. After all, the same script had been working flawlessly for over a year in Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04.

Well, after an hour or two of messing around and fruitless Googling, I finally stumbled upon the answer. It turns out that in the build of mtools 4.0.10 that ships with Ubuntu 9.10, the option to remove the hidden attribute has changed from -h to -H. Of course, the usage message still says -h and the man page still says -h, but it's -H that actually works. So, basically, I lost an hour of my life because somebody, whether in upstream of the package maintainer in universe, screwed up and forgot to update the documentation.

Anyway, I did my duty and filed a bug report. We'll see if anything comes of it. I'm sure it's not a high priority, though - if the Google results are any indication, I'm about the only person in the world who uses mattrib on a regular basis anymore.

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