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Re: ash word-splitting changes break shell scripts

On Tue, May 01, 2001 at 06:15:41PM +1000, Herbert Xu wrote:

> On Mon, Apr 30, 2001 at 07:48:07PM -0700, Zack Weinberg wrote:

> > I can keep this up just as long as you can.
> Everyone around here knows that I just love this game.


> In any case, your script is still broken.  I'm only working around this
> because a related autoconf breakage (#95447) is very widespread.


It is likely that the folks who wrote autoconf did not invent this
idiom for setting and re-setting $IFS.  They probably borrowed the
idea from existing shell code, meaning that the "breakage", as you put
it, will be widespread indeed.

The autoconf folks try very hard to write portable code.  They go to
ridiculous lengths to support every major flavour of OS, compiler,
make, and shell.  Indeed, Zack's tests show that only the recent ash
behaves differently.

Notwithstanding that the Single Unix Specification allows it, what is
the gain of NOT setting $IFS?  Does it simplify initialization code or
save memory?  Does it simplify matters enough to justify calling all
the existing shell code "broken" and demanding that it be fixed (as
you did with Zack's example, and with bugs #95447 and #95856)?

I am glad that you decided to revert the change to ash.  I hope that
future debates of this sort can be conducted with more reason and
fewer childish BTS games.


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