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Re: bash should not be essential


Ian Jackson wrote:
> What the people who want to make bash nonessential are asking is to
> further restrict the facilities available to such programs, in a way
> that may make life very difficult for people.

"make life very difficult" is an exaggeration.

bash is currently essential because there is no other POSIX shell. Point. 
It may have no sense, I agree, to make it non-essential without
first having a replacement. All we have to do is to think about bash
as a POSIX shell, not as "GNU bash".

I'm sure even the FSF and RMS would agree with this, since it is part of
the GNU coding standards:

        Write the Makefile commands (and any shell scripts, such as
   `configure') to run in `sh', not in `csh'.  Don't use any special
   features of `ksh' or `bash'.

We should ask ourselves whether we are "son of GNU" or just "grandchild".

Everything I would like is to add a phrase like this to our policy:

"When writing shell scripts, we should try not to make them gratuitously
non-portable. Therefore, using #!/bin/sh is recommended."

Note that I say *gratuitously*. A dependency on bash is *gratuitous*
when it can be removed *easily*. So, by definition, removing gratuitous
/bin/bash dependencies will not make life difficult to anybody.

BTW: Manoj said this was becoming a "shell war". I don't think so.
I agree that a GNU system should have GNU bash as a default shell.

This is just about portability.

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