[arch-general] dash as default shell?

Bardur Arantsson spam at scientician.net
Thu Jun 18 22:06:04 UTC 2020

On 18/06/2020 18.22, Eli Schwartz via arch-general wrote:
> On 6/18/20 12:08 PM, lists at 2ion.de wrote:
>> On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 11:17:08PM +0100, Piscium via arch-general wrote:
>>> But switching to dash would also be about security, as less code means
>>> less bugs [5].
>> Usage of a more concise, powerful and clean shell language is much more
>> suitable as a point when bringing forth an argument of there being less
>> bugs.
>> I'd say that the amount of bugs in the underlying implementation of a
>> shell almost does matter nothing when compared to the horrors of
>> hacked-together shell scripts that try to be as "basic" as possible,
>> trying to be as "compatible" as possible with anything, exchanging
>> cleanliness and expressiveness for horrible Debian init script-style
>> code.
>> Saving a pseudo-array into a string just to manually reconstruct the
>> pseudo-list when the occasion arises to access a specific element is
>> just one example of what awaits people who ignore the benefits of Bash
>> arrays when they could have had them just by using a different shebang.
> Why does this have anything to do with switching /bin/sh? Scripts which
> do not "ignore the benefits of bash arrays when they could have had them
> just by using a different shebang", would not be affected by such a
> change as they do not, in fact, use a different shebang.
> Meanwhile, scripts which use bashisms but a /bin/sh shebang are broken
> even if /bin/sh is a symlink to bash. Bash disables some, but not all,
> features of bash if it is invoked in POSIX mode, such as via a symlink
> named /bin/sh -- so, you do not even get the benefits of bash, and never
> have, if you used /bin/sh as your shebang.

This is a valid argument.

>> And nearly everybody who has to write this quickly will do it wrong.
> And yet, some do not. Some write elegant, simple POSIX sh scripts which
> do it right. For example, people often forget that pipelines and
> functions are an option, and sometimes a much faster and better option
> than global state variables.
> And most people who are writing /bin/bash scripts are *also* doing it
> wrong because they don't really know what they are doing. Just saying. :p

This is an argument from the Perfect/Robot programmer and is utterly false.

We should just collectively face the truth that shell is not a good way
to program anything non-trivial. :D


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