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Re: POSIX shell; bash ash pdksh & /bin/sh

Alex Yukhimets <aqy6633@acf5.nyu.edu> wrote:
> The argument of backward compatibility is a strong one. Backward
> compatibility is a good thing. But we already have an example of an
> OS which tries to be backward compatible at all cost - including
> all its bugs and "excess baggage" of this OS is enormous.

Speaking of excess baggage...

I agree that bash is less than a perfect implementation of /bin/sh,

I agree that it would be nice to have a standard and allow any shell
which meets that standard be /bin/sh,

I agree that the backwards compatibility problem can be licked: it
is possible to migrate from our current configuration to one where
bash is but one possibility of many.

I do NOT agree that we're ready to do that yet.

One reason I've already mentioned: we have no experience with even
allowing alternatives for /bin/sh

But there's another reason which has not yet been empasized all that
much:  >>We do not yet have a DFSG free standard against which we
can judge /bin/sh<<

This is pretty serious.  Right now, we have a workaround in place:
the implementation of bash serves as our standard.  And, yes, this
is hardly an ideal situation.  But it's certainly better than relying
on words which we can't put on our cdroms.

Posix compatability is something to strive for, but in and of itself
it is not enough for a stable distribution.

I certainly don't want to tell a prospective developer: "I'm sorry,
you can't consider your work complete until you've either purchased a
copy of this standard, and reviewed it, or until you've read everything
accessible from such-and-such url..  no, I'm sorry, but we can't
allow this documentation to be distributed with the systemm...  yes,
I understand that that means you won't be able to work at home or from
your laptop... yes, we really do want to produce a free system but it's
much better this way, honest.  Maybe, as a workaround, you could limit
yourself to only very simple shell script mechanisms... or, better yet,
just use some other language..."

I already have enough problems describing how to configure X.


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