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7.5.3 Program Information Attributes

These attributes are used to define how and what information is displayed to the user of the program.


The copyright is a structured value containing three to five values. If copyright is used, then the first three are required.

  1. date’ - the list of applicable dates for the copyright.
  2. owner’ - the name of the copyright holder.
  3. type’ - specifies the type of distribution license. AutoOpts/AutoGen supports the text of the GNU Public License (‘gpl’), the GNU Lesser General Public License with Library extensions (‘lgpl’), the Modified Free BSD license (‘mbsd’) and a few others. Other licenses may be specified, but you must provide your own license file. The list of license files provided by AutoOpts may be seen by typing:
    ls $(autoopts-config pkgdatadir)/*.lic
  4. text’ - the text of the copyright notice. This must be provided if ‘type’ is set to ‘NOTE’.
  5. author’ - in case the author name is to appear in the documentation and is different from the copyright owner.
  6. eaddr’ - email address for receiving praises and complaints. Typically that of the author or copyright holder.

An example of this might be:

copyright = {
    date  = "1992-2015";
    owner = "Bruce Korb";
    eaddr = 'bkorb@gnu.org';
    type  = GPL;

This string is added to the usage output when the HELP option is selected.


Gives additional information whenever the usage routine is invoked.


The name of the package the program belongs to. This will appear parenthetically after the program name in the version and usage output, e.g.: autogen (GNU autogen) - The Automated Program Generator.


This attribute will not change anything except appearance. Normally, the option names are all documented in lower case. However, if you specify this attribute, then they will display in the case used in their specification. Command line options will still be matched without case sensitivity. This is useful for specifying option names in camel-case.

prog-desc and

These define global pointer variables that point to the program descriptor and the first option descriptor for a library option. This is intended for use by certain libraries that need command line and/or initialization file option processing. These definitions have no effect on the option template output, but are used for creating a library interface file. Normally, the first "option" for a library will be a documentation option that cannot be specified on the command line, but is marked as settable. The library client program will invoke the SET_OPTION macro which will invoke a handler function that will finally set these global variables.


Optionally names the usage procedure, if the library routine optionUsage() does not work for you. If you specify my_usage as the value of this attribute, for example, you will use a procedure by that name for displaying usage. Of course, you will need to provide that procedure and it must conform to this profile:

void my_usage( tOptions* pOptions, int exitCode )

Normally, the default format produced by the optionUsage procedure is AutoOpts Standard. By specifying this attribute, the default format will be GNU-ish style. Either default may be overridden by the user with the AUTOOPTS_USAGE environment variable. If it is set to gnu or autoopts, it will alter the style appropriately. This attribute will conflict with the usage attribute.


Some applications traditionally require that the command operands be intermixed with the command options. In order to handle that, the arguments must be reordered. If you are writing such an application, specify this global option. All of the options (and any associated option arguments) will be brought to the beginning of the argument list. New applications should not use this feature, if at all possible. This feature is disabled if POSIXLY_CORRECT is defined in the environment.

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