headache(1) A program to manage the license of your source file.


headache [-h file] [-c file] [-r] [-help | --help] file...


This manual page documents briefly the headache command.

This manual page was written for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution because the original program does not have a manual page.

It is a common usage to put at the beginning of source code files a short header giving, for instance, some copyright information. headache is a simple and lightweight tool for managing easily these headers. Among its functionalities, one may mention:

• Headers must generally be generated as comments in source code files. headache deals with different files types and generates for each of them headers in an appropriate format.

• Headers automatically detects existing headers and removes them. Thus, you can use it to update headers in a set of files.



Name of one file to process

-h file

Create a header with text coming from file

-c file

Read the given configuration file

-help, --help

Display the option list of headache


Let us illustrate the use of this tool with a small example. Assume you have a small project mixing C and Caml code consisting in three files 'foo.c', 'bar.ml' and 'bar.mli'', and you want to equip them with some header. First of all, write a header file, i.e. a plain text file including the information headers must mention. An example of such a file is given in figure 1. In the following, we assume this file is named 'myheader' and is in the same directory as source files.

Then, in order to generate headers, just run the command : headache -h myheader foo.c bar.ml bar.mli

Each file is equipped with an header including the text given in the header file 'myheader', surrounded by some extra characters depending on its format making it a comment (e.g. '(*' and '*)' in '.ml' files). If you update the header file 'myheader', you simply need to re-run the above command to update headers in source code files.

Similarly, running : headache -r foo.c bar.ml bar.mli removes any existing in files 'foo.c', 'bar.ml' and 'bar.mli'. Files which do not have a header are kept unchanged.


File types and format of header may be specified by a configuration file. By default, the default builtin configuration file given in figure 2 is used. You can also use your own configuration file thanks to the -c option : headache -c myconfig -h myheader foo.c bar.ml bar.mli

In order to write your own configuration, you can follow the example given in figure 2. A configuration file consists in a list of entries separated by the character '|'. Each of them is made of two parts separated by an '->'.

The first one is a regular expression. (Regular expression are enclosed within double quotes and have the same syntax as in Gnu Emacs.) headache determines file types according to file basenames; thus, each file is dealt with using the first line its name matches.

The second one describes the format of headers for files of this type. It consists of the name of a model (e.g. 'frame'), possibly followed by a list of arguments. Arguments are named: 'open:"(*"' means that the value of the argument 'open' is '(*'. headache currently supports three models and a special keyword:


With this model, headers are generated in a frame. This model requires three arguments: 'open' and 'close' (the opening and closing sequences for comments) and 'line' (the character used to make the horizontal lines of the frame). Two optional arguments may be used 'margin' (a string printed between the left and right side of the frame and the border, by default two spaces) and 'width' (the width of the inside of the frame, default is 68).


Headers are typeset between two lines. Three arguments must be provided: 'open' and 'close' (the opening and closing sequences for comments), 'line' (the character used to make the horizontal lines). Three optional arguments are allowed: 'begin' (a string typeset at the beginning of each line, by default two spaces), 'last' (a string typeset at the beginning of the last line) and 'width' (the width of the lines, default is 70).


This model generates no header and has no argument.


Skip line corresponding to one of the "match" parameters regexp. For this kind of line, every first part pattern that matches the file basename is taken into account.


This manual page was written by Sylvain Le Gall<[email protected]> Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License, Version 2.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; considering as source code all the file that enable the production of this manpage.


Sylvain Le Gall <[email protected]>



Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Sylvain Le Gall