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Re: POSIXLY_CORRECT and install scripts

Daniel Jacobowitz <dan@debian.org> writes:

> For the pedanticists on the list, I think you actually mean "making df
> -B 512 the norm"; df -k is what we normally get.  The df documentation
> does not mention its sensitivity to POSIXLY_CORRECT; df has a -P (for
> POSIX) option that does something entirely different; and -B 512 is
> about as obsolete a behavior as I could ever want as an example why
> following POSIX is not always bright.

To clarify, I meant making users *typing* "df -k" the norm.

It may be obsolete but tell that to someone trying to write a portable shell
script. Having df output the more convenient format for users means a script
that works on all compliant systems will mess up on a GNU system. Or someone
who only has ever used GNU systems will write software that won't work on any
other Unixen when a simple "-k" would make his software portable. Sometimes
there is a value for consistency and standards even when the choices aren't

Michael Stone <mstone@debian.org> writes:

> On Thu, Jan 02, 2003 at 10:01:04PM -0500, Greg Stark wrote:
> >But even internally it's not really a good decision to depend on non-standard
> >mostly undocumented behaviour.  It makes it harder to interoperate with other
> > systems if someone does want to use our packages on a non-debian system,
> That's hardly going to be the major stumbling block. We have a policy
> for a reason, and we should follow that policy, not "what other systems
> might do in case someone wants to install a debian package on a
> system that isn't policy compliant." 

Policy has lots of rules intended to make packages more portable to other
systems. We use FHS even when we don't agree with all the details, we
synchronize sonames with other distributions, etc. Having policy require
packages to install correctly with POSIXLY_CORRECT set would be a reasonable

But the main point is that POSIXLY_CORRECT is a user customization option.
Programs should respect it and not crash or misbehave. If they're not tested
with it then they'll probably break. The fact that su currently doesn't work
right itself is pretty sad.


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