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Re: bash-4.0 regression: negative return values

From: Mike Frysinger
Subject: Re: bash-4.0 regression: negative return values
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 11:06:50 -0500
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On Monday 23 February 2009 10:53:06 Chet Ramey wrote:
> Mike Frysinger wrote:
> > On Monday 23 February 2009 08:48:32 Chet Ramey wrote:
> >> Mike Frysinger wrote:
> >>> previous versions of bash would happily accept negative values (
> >>> treated as a signed integer and masked with like 0xff), but it seems
> >>> some changes related to option parsing has broken that
> >>>
> >>> $ f(){ return -1; }; f
> >>> -bash: return: -1: invalid option
> >>> return: usage: return [n]
> >>
> >> Bash still happily accepts the same negative return values; however, the
> >> `return' builtin was changed to use the standard option parsing rules
> >> like the rest of the builtins.  The effect is that arguments
> >> beginning with a `-' that are not to be treated as options must follow
> >> a `--'.
> >
> > that makes negative values kind of useless imo and breaks backwards
> > compatibility.  if 'return -1' isnt going to be fixed, then i'd just
> > break it completely so as to force people to migrate to POSIX compliant
> > behavior.
> By your logic, nothing could ever be fixed as long as someone was using
> it.

no, by my logic, things behaving *differently from documented/spec* can be 
fixed.  this falls into neither category and is an arbitrary change with no 

> Are filenames beginning with a `-' useless because `rm' interprets
> them as option arguments when, for instance, they're generated by the
> expansion of `*'?  Is `rm' broken for interpreting them as options?
> I mean, there's no real difference between the two cases.  If you have
> an argument that looks like an option, and you don't want it interpreted
> as an option, you protect it in some way. The standard way to do that is
> to make it follow `--'.

we arent talking about rm, nor does 'return' even take any options.

> >> It's in the change log as having happened between bash-4.0-alpha and
> >> bash-4.0 beta.
> >
> > the changelog mentions options, not negative values.  they arent the same
> > thing.
> Ummm...yes, they are.  They are both arguments to the command that
> begin with `-'.

if you want to be pedantic, then say return accepts any numeric option and 
uses that in place of [n].  or just reject negative values *and document it*.

the 'return' in the bash(1) man page still does not talk about options or -- 
or anything.  that leaves the existing situation a confusing mess for no 

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