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Re: coreutils feature requests?

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: coreutils feature requests?
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2017 07:54:52 -0500
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On 07/20/2017 02:01 AM, Erik Auerswald wrote:
>> Adding a new feature to GNU Coreutils is also easier to do if
>> you can find someone else (like BSD) that already has the feature - but
>> to my knowledge, no common 'cut -o' exists in other major distributions.
> I have read this reasoning quite often on this list. Does it mean that GNU
> does not innovate, but it might follow the lead of innovators? I thought
> one of the goals of GNU was to improve on Unix
> (
> The announcements states "We will make all improvements that are
> convenient[...]." Are those times over?

No. We still welcome useful contributions, even if there is no other
precedence.  It's just that having precedence makes it easier to get new
features added, but that is not a prerequisite.

Let me reword my thoughts on the matter:

I personally don't need 'cut' to reorder fields, because I already know
how to use other standard utilities to do the same.  So I'm not going to
spend MY time implementing an enhancement to cut.  And someone else
asking ME to do the work won't get very far.  (So far, over the years,
most of the requests have been "will YOU implement this feature for me?"
- so of course, the answer is "why, when you already have the feature
via other means?").

But if someone is determined enough that it is a useful feature (and it
probably is, I have NOT ruled it out, and I even went so far as to
provide quotes from earlier discussions saying that having the feature
to reorder fields in cut via a new option WOULD make cut more intuitive)
- then PROVE that it is useful, by providing the patch (including
documentation and testsuite changes).  And in all likelihood, once such
a patch is posted, I will GLADLY help review and incorporate the feature
(because _I_ did not have to do the heavy lifting for something I would
not personally use).

Eric Blake, Principal Software Engineer
Red Hat, Inc.           +1-919-301-3266
Virtualization: |

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