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bug#33787: Policy Change: Use of /etc/gnu.conf files to configure defaul

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: bug#33787: Policy Change: Use of /etc/gnu.conf files to configure default system behavior
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2019 18:07:17 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.2.1

L A Walsh wrote:

They didn't have one command for listing files, and then require another one
to list properties (stat), and then another to line things up and then another 
put things out in a different format.

Uh, no. For example, you can see examples of using two or more commands in Kernighan and Mashey's 1981 paper "The Unix Programming Environment", which contains this example:

   ls | pr -4 | lpr

which lists files with one command, and then uses another to line them up, exactly the sort of thing you're saying these people didn't have. The paper goes on to give statistics of how often people in the early Unix years used the technique recommended if you don't like the default behavior: have a small shell script that establishes the behavior you want. Kernighan and Mashey write, "it has become common for each user to have a collection of personal commands, a result of the fact that the shell permits users to alter the default search path for finding commands. These personal commands are almost invariably shell programs.... people make significant use of shell procedures to customize the general environment to their personal needs".

So it's not like we're suggesting anything new here.

Kernighan BW, Mashey JR. The Unix programming environment. Computer. 1981 Apr;14(4):12-24. https://www.computer.org/csdl/mags/co/1981/04/01667315.pdf

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