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inconsistent field splitting

From: Marc Herbert
Subject: inconsistent field splitting
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 10:36:36 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100720 Fedora/3.1.1-1.fc13 Thunderbird/3.1.1


   for a in "$(echo 1 2)"; do echo "x${a}x"; done
x1 2x
   for a in  $(echo 1 2) ; do echo "x${a}x"; done

   a="$(echo 1 2)"; echo "x${a}x"
x1 2x
    a=$(echo 1 2);  echo "x${a}x"
x1 2x

Shell quoting is difficult enough; why is such an inconsistency making
it even more confusing?

Uwe Waldmann might give a clue in his excellent "Guide to Unix shell

   Note that in these [assignment + others] cases, the shell syntax
   allows only a single word, not a sequence of words, so that blank
   interpretation or expansion of globbing characters might result in
   something syntactically illegal.

In other words:

   In order to save you from some very obvious syntax errors, I'll
   make quoting even more confusing than it already is.

Sorry but I am not grateful at all.

Or is there a better rationale for this design?

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