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Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2012 03:41:10 -0500
From: Rich Felker <>
Subject: Re: compatability: heirloom-utils +.5, libarchive -1

On Wed, Jan 04, 2012 at 06:05:26PM -0800, Isaac Dunham wrote:
> On Tue, 3 Jan 2012 18:38:08 +0100
> Szabolcs Nagy <> wrote:
> > i had to fix things in heirloom to be able to compile
> > it with pcc+musl
> > i did about the same hacks, but then i ran various tests
> > and some of the more obscure tools failed so i figured
> > heirloom is not that good quality, eg.:
> > nl -b a -v 0
> > (i would never use nl but it turns out the build
> > script mess of dash does ..for whatever reason)
> heirloom toolchest has about four "personalities":
> 1. SVRx (default?)
> 2. BSD
> 3. Single UNIX 3
> 4. SUS
> (The latter two are variants of POSIX)
> In general, the POSIX variants are about as close to precisely
> standards-conformant as you can get; unfortunately, the plain old UNIX
> versions are default. I note, though, that nl presumably ought to start
> numbering at 0 when specified; instead, it starts at 1 (SU3/SUS
> variants), skipping the line that would be numbered 0.  The old unix
> version apparently didn't recognize -b.
> But I figure it beats Busybox any day--and I'd rather not use GNU
> bloat.

I'm not sure what you're talking about. Busybox does not contain GNU
code and hardly has any bloat aside from the source-level bloat
resulting from making it so configurable and micro-optimized for size.

> I'd rather use mksh/ksh93, but if you want a POSIX shell, the Bourne
> shell beats dash on standards-conformance (after all, it *is* the
> standard). mksh (when invoked as sh) is almost pure POSIX.

I'm not sure what conformance issues you claim busybox's ash has, but
I suspect the developers would be happy to hear your bug reports. My
understanding is that except in a few specific areas, the bb utils are
intended to conform to SUSv4.


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