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Re: inconsistent field splitting

From: Greg Wooledge
Subject: Re: inconsistent field splitting
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 08:13:44 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/

On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 12:53:25PM +0100, Marc Herbert wrote:
> Sorry but I am not interested at all in how the current implementation
> works. I am only wondering why it was *designed* like this.
> Try to remove your expert hat for one second and take the stance of
> some developer new to the shell, trying to make sense of quoting, word
> splitting and the rest.

Those are two completely different things.

If you want to know why word splitting is done the way it is, here is
my *guess*.  I think it's because (a) the original shell had no arrays,
(b) the designers of Unix never used whitespace in filenames, so they
never worried about it, and (c) they wanted to be able to do this:

  files='*.c *.h'
  for f in $files
  do ....

If you want to know how to teach these things to newbies, that's a
very different matter.  The way we do it in #bash is to pound the
phrase "USE MORE QUOTES!" into their heads over and over again until
they submit.

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