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Redirections and noclobber


in bug #275140, I was made aware of a problem with the handling of
tempfiles in tetex's maintainer scripts, and it seems to be a general
problem. Basically, we do

echo something > $tempfile

and this will fail if the noclobber option is set in the executing
shell, because after mktemp the $tempfile exists. 

It is easy to fix this:

echo something >| $tempfile

but both I and the bug submitter were puzzled that we didn't find any
previous discussions about the topic. Obviously, noclobber is only
rarely used (otherwise we would have gotten bugreports earlier), but I
see no reason, neither in Policy nor in "common sense", why root
shouldn't use it. On the other hand, this usage of mktemp has been
the result of discussions on debian-tetex-maint@l.d.o, and I'm quite
sure to have seen it elsewhere.

Is there anything I've missed? Do you think this needs to be clarified
in Policy or the Developer's Reference?

TIA, Frank
Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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