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Re: Arithmetic evaluation of negative numbers with base prefix

From: Chet Ramey
Subject: Re: Arithmetic evaluation of negative numbers with base prefix
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2019 10:39:40 -0400
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On 6/17/19 9:30 AM, Jeremy Townshend wrote:

> Ilkka Virta's email helpfully pointed me to a somewhat related debate that
> occurred about 11 months ago.  I agree with your comment in this debate:
>   "There would be a good case for rejecting the '10#' because it's missing
>   the value."

I'll probably do that for bash-5.1. The code is in there and tagged for

> It is this silently proceeding with a plausible (but undesirable) output in
> such cases which is especially concerning.

Trying to be helpful rarely works out in every case.

> I cannot find anywhere else in the manual where the word "number", "numeric
> value" or "integer" excludes values less than zero without explicitly stating
> so.  On the other hand phrases like "[if] ...  number/numeric values less than
> zero", "if ...  [not] a number greater than [or equal to] zero" are used
> repeatedly.  In those cases "number" clearly doesn't exclude those less than
> zero.

I'm not sure how relevant that language is to integer constants in
expressions. I could also note that the language describing the base#n
syntax only talks about digits, letters, `@', and `_'.

The bash definition of arithmetic evaluation is taken from C. That includes
integer constants, and, while the base#value syntax clearly extends the C
definition of a constant,  the `-' (and `+', FWIW) is still an operator as
defined by C.

``The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.'' - Chaucer
                 ``Ars longa, vita brevis'' - Hippocrates
Chet Ramey, UTech, CWRU    address@hidden    http://tiswww.cwru.edu/~chet/

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