On Thu, 25 Jun 2009, Manish Jain wrote:
If you want to make a case for replacing ed(1), you're going to have
to come up with some concrete reasons for doing so, not just make a
(long and hyperbolic) statement that you don't like it.
Any Unix tool has to clearly fall either under the category of
non-interactive (grep, sed, ex) or interactive (vi, wget, sysinstall). The
case of non-interactive tools is simple : just do what you are told on the
commandline and exit. For interactive tools, at a minimum, the application
has to be show what data it is working on and what it does with the data when
the user presses a key (or a series of them). ed was never meant to be
non-interactive, and it does not fulfil the basic requirements of being
interactive. That's one reason. Secondly, how many times does an average
commandline user even think of using ed when he needs to edit a file, even in
the extreme case where there are no alternatives ?
There have been some recent changes:
that suggest that this problem is being addressed.
Till the improvements are in place, we need the alternative of having vi
under /bin rather than /usr/bin.
Actually, it surprises me to what extent the core of the FreeBSD community is
enamoured with this idea of a micro-minimalistic base, in which it is
practically impossible to do anything except run fsck. Matters don't stop
there. Seeing the limitations of this approach, the community churns up wierd
workarounds like /rescue/vi, when all that was needed was shift vi from /usr.
You talk about the need for compliance with old hardware and embedded systems
to save a few kilos. How old is the hardware that you have in mind ? The
oldest system running FreeBSD I know of is a 1997 Pentium with a 2 GB disk,
and even that can easily withstand the change I am suggesting. Machines older
than that are actually DEAD and don't have to be factored in. As for embedded
systems, the primary target of FreeBSD is servers, workstations and *tops.
The embedded world hasn't survived riding on FreeBSD, nor the other way
round. So from the viewpoint of the greatest good of the largest number,
over-indulging a mindset fixed around minimizing the base only leads to
degradation, not improvement. Getting to boast of a 900K / won't do any good
when people are thinking of having decent firepower (even while in
single-user mode) and its ease of use.
But I guess my words are of no use when the people who matter just won't
listen. So I give any hopes in this regard.
Maybe you're right, maybe not.
20 years ago, I've written and edited voluminous fortran code on a silly
rs232 terminal using ed. So, it is possible, and one can learn basics of
ed in less than a hour. Don't you think so?
GWDG, Am Fassberg, 37077 Goettingen, Germany, kheu...@gwdg.de
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