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Re: M4sh tests 77 and 78 vs /bin/sh -> dash

From: Bob Friesenhahn
Subject: Re: M4sh tests 77 and 78 vs /bin/sh -> dash
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2020 14:48:33 -0500 (CDT)
User-agent: Alpine 2.20 (GSO 67 2015-01-07)

On Mon, 23 Mar 2020, Zack Weinberg wrote:

Given that Debian is _deliberately_ configuring dash without LINENO
support in order to work around configure scripts containing bashisms,
I think we should make changes in this area cautiously and with a lot
of public notice.  It's my personal opinion that we should push
configure-script authors in the direction of not using bash
extensions, maybe even at the expense of performance.

In my experience, bash is so popular as a command-line shell (and sometimes/often as a scripting shell) that configure-script authors do not know any better. They are not aware that they are using bash-specific syntax since they often do not read documentation and just use what appears to work. This applies to other shells as well, since it just depends on the shell that the developer used.

I do see Paul Eggert's follow on email which suggests that configure scripts should not inhibit the developer.

It is indeed true that some configure scripts are for convenience rather than portability, and it is ok to mix syntax in the script since the script does not fail unless syntax it does not understand is actually executed. It might be ok to introduce a bash-specific shell function if it was only going to be executed by bash.

Bob Friesenhahn
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,
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