In Terminal on macOS, the ls (list directory contents) command sorts the output of its "all files" listing so that hidden files (those that begin with a dot) appear at the top of the list, like this:
$ ls -Alh total 47640 -rw-r--r--@ 1 robg staff 28K Oct 26 15:00 .DS_Store drwxrwxrwx@ 5 robg staff 160B Oct 23 2016 .TemporaryItems ... [trimmed for display] drwxr-xr-x 8 robg staff 256B Sep 19 08:31 .wine drwx------ 13 robg staff 416B Apr 13 2019 Applications drwx------+ 20 robg staff 640B Oct 26 12:36 Desktop ... [trimmed for display]
On the server that hosts my personal sites (as well as Many Tricks), however, ls doesn't sort the invisible files to the top:
$ ls -Alh ... [trimmed for display] drwxr-x---. 4 rgriff mail 82 Oct 21 14:59 etc drwxr-x---. 13 rgriff nobody 160 Oct 26 15:06 .htpasswds -rw-------. 1 rgriff rgriff 503 Oct 20 21:02 .lastlogin drwxr-x--x. 11 rgriff rgriff 4.0K Oct 21 17:48 mail -rw-------. 1 rgriff rgriff 0 Oct 21 14:42 .mysql_history ... [trimmed for display]
I dug around for a solution, but didn't find one. So I came up with a really hacky alias, but it worked:
alias ls="/usr/bin/ls -la | egrep --color=never '[0-9]\ \.';ls -l | tail -n+2"
But really, don't use that. A buddy told me that the solution was a simple matter of changing a locale setting—and he was right. To make linux directory listings sort the dot files to the top, add this to your .bashrc or whatever config file you use:
With that locale value set, the ls output matches what I'm used to from macOS. I don't know much about locale at all, but this page explains it in detail, including this bit about the "C" locale:
The C locale, also known as the POSIX locale, is the POSIX system default locale for all POSIX-compliant systems.
I'm sure I could start there and dive into a deep hole learning about locales and default sort orders, but really, I don't care. I'm just happy that ls is once again sorting the way I prefer.