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From Ben Laurie <>
Subject Re: Back to the roots (was: Re: Suggestion: shtool)
Date Mon, 26 Apr 1999 18:04:08 GMT
Ralf S. Engelschall wrote:
> 1. The technical issue ("why is shtool monolithic?"):
>    You're right that a monolithic script (even compiled by a Perl-script out
>    of the smaller pieces) doesn't fit directly the Unix philosophy of small
>    dedicated programs which do their job well. I'm aware of this, of course.
>    The reason is this: shtool is intended to be included into source trees and
>    not mainly used as an installed package (why shouldn't you run "shtool
>    mkdir" when you've a good "mkdir", etc?)
>    So shtool is intended to mainly provide a portability layer for Makefiles
>    in a source tree package. And there it's great when you can do what libtool
>    does: You just prefix the command lines with the helper tool. You replace
>    "install -m 744 -c foo $(bar)/quux" just with "$(SHTOOL) install -m 744 -c
>    foo $(bar)/quux", etc.  And a single monolithic program is of great
>    advantage here, because you then only need a single substituted variable
>    and all is kept clean and small. Additionally I find it nasty and total
>    mess to see a source tree of a small package which is bloated up with 10
>    little shell scripts.

Why is this better than "$(SHTOOL)_install..." or

>    The shtool is an important thing technically, but it should optically
>    totally disappear.


> And a single 50KB "shtool" disappears fine even in a
>    small source tree while 10 5KB "etc/foobar" scripts don't.  You know,
>    hacking is a piece of art for me...

I find this offensive. You imply that other practitioners are not
artists or are in some way less elegant than you. Well, call me an art
critic, but a 50k lump of shell script seems to me only useful for
breaking your toes when you drop it.




"My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those
who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the
first group; there was less competition there."
     - Indira Gandhi

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