I updated the webpage last week, to reduce confusion:


However, back to the stated issue: if the packager follows the same
guidelines as previously stated (100% compatibility with the existing
scripts, no effort whatsoever required of the packager), it's not likely
that any change will be made.

You received this bug notification because you are a member of Ubuntu
Touch seeded packages, which is subscribed to mawk in Ubuntu.

  Consider replacing mawk with gawk in main

Status in mawk package in Ubuntu:

Bug description:
  For POSIX compatibility reasons Ubuntu ships with mawk ("Mike's awk" =
  mawk) in main. There is an awk-symlink to mawk, thus mawk is the
  official awk implementation in Ubuntu.

  == Reasons against keeping mawk ==

  *The mawk package is synced from debian and it is heavily
  undermaintained: Debian (and thus Ubuntu) still ships version
  1.3.3-17, the same version at least since oldoldstable:

  *maintainer Thomas E. Dickey (https://invisible-island.net/mawk/)
  called officially out that Debian "neglected" mawk in 2014 ("As noted,
  mawk has been neglected by some packagers (see for example this
  http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/pkgreport.cgi?package=mawk)". And
  Debian (and Ubuntu) still ship the same version five years later

  *Most other distributions ship mawk at least in its last official
  incarnation 1.3.4 in their repositories. Dickey lists AIX, Fedora,
  FinkPorts (Mac OS X), FreeBSD port, Gentoo, HPUX, MacPorts (Mac OS X),
  NetBSD pkgsrc/lang, OpenCSW (Solaris). That version is from 2014 and
  at first it looked like it wasn't developed anymore:
  https://github.com/ThomasDickey/mawk-20140914/commits/master A recent
  comment by Thomas Dickey below indicates that he is still maintaining

  *A planned rewrite mawk2 was planned by original author Mike Brennan
  in 2016 but obviously came to nothing:

  *Thus mawk sits in Ubuntu main in a version published upstream in 2009
  and celebrates its 10th anniversary of negligence. In a state that
  Debian was called out for 5 years ago.

  *This year it is 10 years unmaintained and largely untouched. At the
  end of the next LTS-support-cycle we can celebrate 15 years of not
  supporting it.

  *awk is included in Linux for POSIX standard compliance. Mawk is known
  to be fast and small but it is the implementation that is farthest
  from being POSIX compliant, missing things like named character
  classes like [[:space:]] within its EREs.

  == Reasons for gawk as a replacement ==

  *It is the official GNU awk implementation and known to work well with
  the rest of the GNU userland.

  *It is actively maintained with the last version 5.01 shipping in
  June, 2019 (even if Ubuntu will obviously still ship 4.2 for Eoan).

  *It is mostly compliant with the POSIX standard.

  *Most other distributions ship it as the standard POSIX
  implementation, with a awk symlink. So it had security reviews already
  by Red Hat and others.

  == Possible problems with switching to gawk in time for Ubuntu 20.4 ==

  - It might need to be MIRed by the Ubuntu security team and a review
  might take some time. So I filed this bug early with Eoan not yet out
  of the door.

  - It is much larger than mawk, the Ubuntu package is 1600 kB in size,
  while mawk is only about 190KB. Thus some might want to split out some
  basic functionality to save size. Like what is vim-tiny to vim. To
  start gawk in --traditional or --posix mode and disable the extensions
  at compile time might be a good start to reduce the size. See:


  ProblemType: Bug
  DistroRelease: Ubuntu 19.04
  Package: mawk 1.3.3-17ubuntu3
  ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 5.0.0-27.28-generic 5.0.21
  Uname: Linux 5.0.0-27-generic x86_64
  ApportVersion: 2.20.10-0ubuntu27.1
  Architecture: amd64
  CurrentDesktop: ubuntu:GNOME
  Date: Tue Aug 27 20:12:11 2019
   gcc-9-base 9.1.0-2ubuntu2~19.04
   libc6 2.29-0ubuntu2
   libgcc1 1:9.1.0-2ubuntu2~19.04
   libidn2-0 2.0.5-1
   libunistring2 0.9.10-1ubuntu2
  InstallationDate: Installed on 2018-02-23 (550 days ago)
  InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" - Alpha amd64 (20180214)
   PATH=(custom, no user)
  SourcePackage: mawk
  UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

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