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Re: Several reason a minimal POSIX /bin/bash is a bad idea

Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@datasync.com> writes:

> 	I am disturbed by the several suggestions about making /bin/sh
>  a small, minimalist shell that offers just bare bones POSIX
>  environments and eschews some common shell practices for Linux (where
>  full featuresd shells have served as /bin/sh for the most part).

I proposed this for our unstable development distribution, not the stable
public distribution. I don't see anything disturbing about having our own
developers use something that is more likely to turn up bugs for a while. I
agree this isn't quite the same as the dpkg --force-overwrite issue, but I
think you're overestimating the number of things that will break and I hope
you're overestimating the number of non-developers who use the unstable dist.

I think you mischaracterize the POSIX sh by calling it "minimalist" and "bare
bones". The POSIX sh is one of the few really good areas of POSIX. Instead of
ignoring features they added and specified more useful features than most OSes
supported at the time. If only more OSes supported the full POSIX shell the
world would be a happier place.

The fact is that the "full featured" shells you describe have only a handful
of mostly inconsequential features that aren't worth the incompatibilities
they cause. The only major differences between bash and most "minimal" posix
shells would be in the interactive features (And Ash can be built with the
very functional libeditline which supports both emacs and vi style bindings
and history even though the Debian one is currently not).

Moreover you ignore the fact that there are solid benefits to having a
"minimalist" shell. ("minimalist" here meaning anything but the huge bloated
behemoth of Bash, even if it has all the same features). Namely, the memory
savings and speed increases. 

This discussion seems to be largely dominated by lots of people with strong
opinions but no actual experience using any shell but Bash. This is
unfortunate, Bash is not the be all and end all of shells, it's buggy, it
deviates from POSIX in both subtle and blatant ways, and it's *HUGE*. While it
may be a good interactive shell, it's really just not appropriate for running
system scripts.


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