diff - GNU og BSD ?

Joerg Sonnenberger joerg at britannica.bec.de
Wed Feb 18 11:10:29 PST 2004

On Wed, Feb 18, 2004 at 12:14:05PM -0600, Jeremy Messenger wrote:
> Well, it's necessarily when you are taking it away from us. The GNU
> diff has been part of base system for the very long time and you decide to
> replace to BSD diff that has lesser feature, slower and etc. It hurts. My
> belief, you have to make sure the BSD diff is better than GNU diff for the
> replacement rather than worry about the GPL license since there are a lot
> of other GPL tools in the base system where you can't replace them yet
> (probably more like never).
> Anyway, Matt has answered the rest and I agree with him about I see no
> problem using GNU for utilities. I don't understand why people are worry
> about it where it doesn't get in our way.

Well, since we have maintain that stuff, there is a reason to worry about it.
I initially pointed Eirik to the BSD diff since it should be evaluated.
In the special case of diff it boils down to the following points:
a) the necessary feature set for POSIX correctness
b) the necessary features used by our own system (e.g. mergemaster)
c) the must-have additions (unified diffs!)
d) speed.

a und c are IMO fully satisfied. For b) the lack of sdiff is currently
problematic. Issue d is something which can be fixed. At least buggs
and asmodai have shown some interest to work on it.

Just to add one more point why this discussion is necessary. DF and
FreeBSD are currently shipping with GNU tar. GNU tar is not very well
maintained, since even the FSF maintainer believe it is messy. We already
have pax in the tree, which does have a tar wrapper, but isn't 100%
compatible with GNU's pre-POSIX tar files nor the extended options.

Having said that, GNU tar doesn't create valid POSIX tar archives, e.g.
with path names longer than 100 characters. Pax does, so does star. Is
this reason enough to think about extending pax's tar wrapper and remove
GNU tar from base? We should always keep in mind, that there is absolutly
nothing to prevent installing a GNU tar/diffutils/patch/whatever port
to satisfy the requirements of third party software. There is even an
example in ports, which does exactly this (devel/tla depends on gpatch).


> Cheers,
> Mezz
> -- 
> bsdforums.org 's moderator, mezz.

More information about the Submit mailing list