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Re: Changing the default simlink to sh [was: Password file with over 3000 users.]

On Sep 26, 2007, at 3:03 AM, Thomas Goirand wrote:

Craig Sanders wrote:
i just posted the following few paragraphs to someone else in private
mail. maybe they'll help you to see the point:

it is incumbent on those who are proposing a change to demonstrate:

1. that the change has significant benefits
2. that the change does not cause problems
3. that the benefits greatly outweigh the problems caused
4. that there is no viable alternative to the proposed change

You are repeating again, so it forces us to repeat also. I think you had
better re-read the backlog to see somebody's else point, but if you
still didn't get it, then I'll have to write it again.

1. The significant benefits are: faster, lighter, and more cross
comparabilities with the Debian embedded systems. Another one is a
better compatibility with BSD systems that wont have bash by default
(you need to set it up manually or depend on it). This last one is,
IMHO, very important. Another one is that scripts with bashism will be
detected immediately, and that's great, they will be modified quicker.

"faster", "lighter" - please quantify. Those are not engineering terms. How much faster? How much lighter?

It also doesn't account for what percentage of Debian systems deployed are "embedded". If 1%, who cares? If 50%... maybe someone has a more reasonable argument for this change, then.

Who benefits?

Making that kind of change without hard numbers is not engineering, it's hacking and childish and non-professional.

(There, I didn't use the "stupid" word Craig used, but I'm thinking it.)

2. It doesn't cause any problem for scripts written with #!/bin/bash,
only for those who were badly written with #!/bin/sh instead when
expecting bash. These scripts HAVE to be modified, and it's not a very
big deal anyway.

User scripts if its left alone do NOT have to be modified. They are poorly-written, but that would be EXPECTED of non-developer, non- professional end-users.

Why force the people already having the hardest time in the learning curve through a harder process when anyone beyond that stage of the learning curve can much more easily deal with loading whatever shell they want?

Making the newbies fight through this change is elitist and wrong. But I've come to expect that of Debian, and so have others. Wonder if Ubuntu will follow suit or if they'll keep bash. That'd be one indicator of whether or not the change is REALLY needed, since they have an end-user (and thus, desktop) focus that Debian lost years ago.

3. See point 1, I think it's clear there are some very big benefits, and
the only problem is badly written scripts that can be modified really

You think.  You don't KNOW.  Engineer, don't guess.

What "big benefits" and for whom? A majority of the users, or just for a few devs who want to mess with things?

Quantify, don't equivocate.  Be professional.

4. The alternative is to setup bash, and restor the link as it was, or
to fix the badly written scripts. Both solution are really easy...

Easy for us, hard for how many?

in short, don't do unneccessary harm and don't violate the principle of
least surprise.

People that DO read Debian news and things like that will know in
advance, and have quite a big amount of time to fix.

Quantify. How many users of Debian read DWN? (For that matter, how many will be notified that a change is happening -- there IS a warning that bash is deprecated being engineered into the packages so that their next apt-get dist-upgrade will WARN them, isn't there? If not, the very MINIMUM that needs to happen is that the package maintainer do that. And that will need to be added and translated to the various languages supported, etc... just like any other warning.)

respect is earned, not an automatic entitlement.

For sure, you are not earning respect when writing this way to others.

Perhaps he doesn't care. You apparently are more worried about his behavior than he is. Let it go. It's not your problem unless you choose to engage with him in a conversation, and then you already know what to expect, so stop whining about it.

But lucky, things evolve. It's not because one thing exists, or have
always been in a way, and is documented as it is, that it shouldn't be
changed if there are some good things behind the move. Debian
maintainers will simply update the documentation... Also, nobody forced
anyone to call the wrong shell, and it was never documented this way.
Also, if "man sh" brings the man page of bash, that doesn't mean
anything but the fact that bash is currently used when calling sh (the
sh man page is just a symlink to the one of bash...).

Constant breakage and changes that add no true value are the reasons many people use Debian over other distros. It's not "evolution" when other distros do this type of thing, it's just software churn for no real engineered/quantified reason at all.

I could find so many example of things that have been in a way for
decades, and that one day, changed. And there was always some people
against evolution. I have many example in mind, but I wont give any, as automatically, you'll say it's a fullish one for whatever reason. But I
believe you are smart enough to understand my point without giving you
yet another car example...

You could also find examples of a lot of people annoyed and/or inconvenienced by those changes where ultimately all the people making the change did, is cause them more effort for little return.

P.S: Once again, people are NOT stupid because they have different point
of view. Saying so IS disrespectful, and not only for the one you are
writing to, but for all the people reading this list. IMHO, by default, you should respect the people reading you, especially in a public lists.

Not your problem.

You're making all the political arguments for this, but haven't provided a whit of engineering documentation to back any of it up. If it's so much better, why is there a debate at all? It generally holds true that major changes that "make sense" to a large number of people are the right thing to do. Major changes that garner debate will also garner breakage, confusion, weeping and gnashing of teeth for too many people to really be much of a net-benefit to either the people using the Debian distribution, or the image of the distro in the world/community stage.

Re-worded, will a majority other distros and their users applaud this major change as something they "wish all distros did"? And then copy Debian's lead?

If not... it's not worth doing... and it's not leadership. It's just tinkering and screwing things up that don't need to be touched.

Nate Duehr

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