Bennett Todd bet at
Thu Jul 15 06:41:43 PDT 2004

2004-07-15T12:21:41 Björn Lindberg:
> Bennett Todd <bet at> writes:
> > 2004-07-14T17:08:52 Björn Lindberg:
> My guess is that the commercial Unices stopped improving on most
> of the base tools, instead focusing on other aspects of their
> system. When GNU started to recreate the tools, they had no reason
> not to make them as good as possible from the start.

Yup. RMS made an explicit goal of substantially improving the
standard Unix utils from the very beginning of the GNU project, for
two reasons. The first one was because it added interest to the
design and implementation; simply cloning an existing util isn't
nearly as entertaining as doing it way better. And the second reason
was to help insure that the resulting code, independantly written
from the external spec and observed behavior, wouldn't accidentally
end up implementing the functionality the exact same way, with code
similar enough to entertain accusations of plagiarism.

> rc really sounds like an improvement to ksh/bash.

Warning: rc's readline integration isn't as slick as bash's. I've
lost track of es, it may be better or not, I don't know. bash is the
cleaner interactive shell, but I put up with the slighly off rc
interface [e.g.: readline will filename complete e.g. ~/.fe<tab> to
~/.fetchmailrc, but rc doesn't do ~ expansion] because I adore it's
simpler and yet more powerful looping and quoting and so forth.

> The reason I haven't made the effort to learn it yet is based on
> the fact that it is not very useful to learn a new shell, since
> when writing scripts you tend to need portability anyway.

I still write #!/bin/sh scripts. I'd use #!/bin/rc before I used
#!/bin/ksh or #!/bin/bash; rc is easy to provide. Since I almost
exclusively work on Linux, my Bent distro packages are really
portable. curl |
(cd / && bzip2 -d && cpio -idm) and voila, it's there. Since it's
completely statically linked it's awfully portable:-).

When I get Bent linux to the point where I'm assembling its init
scripts (oughta go back and revisit that, there are _so_ many
distractions!) I plan on doing them in rc.

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