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Re: Enhancement Requests: Add a seed value option to sort and shuf

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: Enhancement Requests: Add a seed value option to sort and shuf
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 07:08:55 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.1.0

On 11/21/2013 06:29 AM, Thomas Müller wrote:
> Hi Eric,

Thanks for including the list (but note that we generally don't top-post).

> thanks for the quick response. While the behavior I want can be
> simulated using --random-source it is not exactly the same.
> The main limitation of --random-source is that all the needed random
> numbers have to be provided (see below).

This limitation is documented in the manual:
info coreutils random

> Couldn't the behavior be changed to continue with IAAS when then end
> of the random source is reached?

If we do this, it would be best done by adding a new option to shuf,
shred, and sort, which says that the --random-source is allowed to be
used as the seed for the internal PRNG rather than as the sole source of
randomness.  We can't do it by default without a new option, because it
would potentially reduce the security of existing clients that expect
the error on EOF if their source was too short, but the request may have
merit.  I'll let others chime in with their opinion as well.

Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library

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