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Re: [bug-inetutils] ping, --count=NUMBER

From: Karl Berry
Subject: Re: [bug-inetutils] ping, --count=NUMBER
Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 17:49:20 -0500

    Think of `sort -2' etc, which had also been there
    since inception, but that was deprected.

Well, that deprecation (and coreutils' slavish adherence to it) was,
IMHO, an incredibly stupid idea, not an improvement in any way.
It broke many scripts which ran perfectly fine since day one of Unix,
with only pedantic gains.  Exactly what we are *not* supposed to do in GNU.

Although ping -c is not exactly in the same category as sort -2 in terms
of universality, I confess I don't see what terrific gain is being made
by making it optional, introducing new compatibility variables, and so
on, and so on.  What's so bad about keeping the argument required?  That
seems so much simpler.

    What are your thoughts on a BSD_ME_HARDER enviroment variable?  We
    could leave it on by default, and if you set it to nil, then you would
    get GNUish behaviour.

This seems illogical to me.  What you are describing as "GNUish
behavior" seems quite suboptimal.  A GNU package should have the best
(usually, most compatible) behavior by default.

I don't think a hypothetical BSD_ME_HARDER is not anything that should
be set by default (whether explicitly or implicitly), just as
POSIX_ME_HARDER/POSIXLY_CORRECT is not.  It should only be set when a
user wants slavish adherence to stupid standards.  That was the whole
idea of that environment variable.  

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