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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] GNU Arch review - am I accurate?

From: David A. Wheeler
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] GNU Arch review - am I accurate?
Date: Tue, 09 Mar 2004 23:49:17 GMT

I've received several replies about my filename convention
concerns.  Here's an example:
> ... how often will you really want to do operations
> involving {arch} etc. within your shell?

Not often.  But to be fair, I do say that in my review,
which says "And although this is less of a problem..."
when I talk about the {} characters in the name {arch}.

However, the leading = and + characters are critical
for defining file categories.  Yes, you can change them,
but it's always important to pick easy-to-use defaults.
It would be very confusing if you had to work with 5
different arch projects, and they all used extremely
different conventions.  It's the leading "+" and "="
that drive me bonkers, especially the "+".  Leading "+"
as an option is actually a very old Unix and pre-Unix
convention (Multics perhaps?), and MANY tools use it
(including vi, vim, more, and several others).

Just look at arch itself. It's filled with
leading "=" (=README, etc.) filenames.  The
leading + character is critical for the logging file
(and that can't even be configured).

I'm just arguing to consider a different convention
(perhaps leading ^ instead of +), so that arch
will work more smoothly with common tools like vim.

Between the two characters, I see the leading +
character as the more important one.
Leading = is more immediately annoying (due to
a bash bug), but that's a bug in one tool
that will be fixed.  The leading + character is a
longer-range problem, since there's NO reason to
believe that the various tools like vim and more
will change to make arch happy.
They were there first :-).

--- David A. Wheeler

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