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Re: config.sub/config.guess using nonportable $(...) substitutions

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: config.sub/config.guess using nonportable $(...) substitutions
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2021 16:22:10 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/78.7.1

On 3/8/21 3:00 PM, Dmitry V. Levin wrote:
The only rationale provided by the previous maintainer so far is a short
message in config-patches mailing list [1].

The config maintainer Ben Elliston has wanted to get rid of the old-fashioned accent graves for many years. In November 2017 he installed a change to do that, but I explained it wouldn't work well on Solaris 10 so he reverted. Two years ago he asked me about this again, and I responded that Solaris 10's end-of-life was scheduled to be January 2021 and so it'd be best to wait until then, and he agreed. Last April we emailed each other again about this, and I told him that Oracle had extended Solaris 10's end-of-life to January 2024 but he demurred, writing that he didn't want to wait the extra three years.

Except maybe for Solaris 10, shells that don't grok $(...) are museum pieces now. And anybody on Solaris 10 (which occasionally includes me, as my department still uses Solaris 10 on some machines) can easily run a better shell like /bin/ksh. It's a bit of a maintenance hassle for Ben to deal with `...` (it doesn't nest, and it has weird rules when combined with "...") and it's understandable that he would rather deal with actual config.guess problems than with completely-obsolete shells that don't support standard syntax.

I recall having a similar discussion back in the 1970s, when a shell script stopped working for me because its author put in a comment starting with "#", something the 7th Edition shell did not support. I wrote the author, who suggested I get a better shell, and life went on. And I'd expect a similar reaction today if someone asked us to remove the "#" comments from config.guess on the grounds that they don't work with Steve Bourne's original V7 shell.

At some point, failing to support $(...) is in the same ballpark as failing to support "#". I can see Ben's point of view that we've reached that point even if I would have waited another three years, so if Ben would rather use $(...) I'd rather not overrule him downstream.

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