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Re: portability of 'printf' command

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: portability of 'printf' command
Date: Wed, 07 Apr 2010 23:03:31 +0200

Karl Berry wrote:
>     And the reason that I would _like_ to have printf(1) added to the list
>     of portable tools is because of the number of non-portable shell scripts
>     that are currently using 'echo -n', which is doomed to failure in some
>     shells, instead of printf because printf was not listed in the permitted
>     tools.
> About that, echo -n was and never will be portable, have to go through
> the tests of -n vs. \c, etc.  I doubt that's news to anyone here :).
> I seem to recall that we've already given up on explicitly testing other
> things lacking in SunOS 4, though the specifics elude me.

Maybe you're remembering free(NULL) ?
It would segfault on SunOS 4, but POSIX now requires it be a no-op.

> In any event, I suspect that anyone using such an ancient system *and*
> installing a brand-new version of package foo that uses printf in its
> autoconfery would also have installed coreutils (or at least sh-utils),
> and therefore will have printf after all.
> So I'm not seeing a strong argument against this.  Barring objections,
> I'll send it on to rms ... except I'll be offline until next Tuesday, so
> don't expect anything before next week.

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