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Re: /etc/profile should include sbin in PATH

The /sbin directory originated in pre-releases of 4.4. BSD.  I can't
remember whether it appeared in 4.3 Tahoe or 4.3 Reno.   The "s"
stands for superuser (not static) and was intended as a better place
for such binaries than /etc.  They used to be in /etc.

The GNU project adopted /sbin because ordinary users should not be
burdened with executables that they *cannot* run usefully.  (Which is
in fact the same reason that they are in /etc or /sbin in BSD.)

So we wrote in the coding standards the following definition (this is
actually the makefiles standard for $(sbindir), whose default value is
sbin).  Actually, *I* wrote this language.  It was this language which
was adopted into FHS and is the Whole Point of having sbin.

     The directory for installing executable programs that can be run
     from the shell, but are only generally useful to system
     administrators.  This should normally be `/usr/local/sbin', but
     write it as `$(exec_prefix)/sbin'.  (If you are using Autoconf,
     write it as `@sbindir@'.)

A program which is not setuid and is only able to do useful things if
the user is root is the canonical example.  There may be others. 

It sounds to me that Greg Stark is not familiar with this language,
and he should be asking for more discipline about taking "only
generally useful to system administrators" with more strictness than
it is generally given.


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