Re: [HEADSUP] making /bin/sh the default shell for root

From: Rodney W. Grimes <>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2021 16:47:51 UTC
> On 9/22/21 10:36 AM, Baptiste Daroussin wrote:
> > Hello,
> > 
> > TL;DR: this is not a proposal to deorbit csh from base!!!
> > 
> > For years now, csh is the default root shell for FreeBSD, csh can be confusing
> > as a default shell for many as all other unix like settled on a bourne shell
> > compatible interactive shell: zsh, bash, or variant of ksh.
> > 
> > Recently our sh(1) has receive update to make it more user friendly in
> > interactive mode:
> > * command completion (thanks pstef@)
> > * improvement in the emacs mode, to make it behave by default like other shells
> > * improvement in the vi mode (in particular the vi edit to respect $EDITOR)
> > * support for history as described by POSIX.
> > 
> > This makes it a usable shell by default, which is why I would like to propose to
> > make it the default shell for root starting FreeBSD 14.0-RELEASE (not MFCed)
> > 
> > If no strong arguments has been raised until October 15th, I will make this
> > proposal happen.
> > 
> > 
> > Best regards,
> > Baptiste
> > 
> Hello,
> I applaud the proposal to change the default login shell of root to 
> /bin/sh. As you mention the rest of the Unix(-like) world has used a 
> Bourne-like root login shell forever. It is one of the first things I 
> change on a new FreeBSD install anyway.

So now you stop changing it, something you have grown use to doing,
and all of us who want the old behavior have to add a change item
to our list of post install stuff.  We BOTH end up with version
conditional tweaks to the base system.  Is that a good idea?

> While there, you could change "Charlie &" in the gecos field to 
> something more sensible, e.g. just "Superuser". I know Charlie is there 
> since 4.2BSD, but the reference to a long forgotten baseball player is 
> probably lost by now. Also, a lot of explanation is often needed when 
> users receive (automated) emails from Charlie Root.
> Once the login shell of root has changed to /bin/sh, I do not see any 
> reason to keep toor around. It is there since 4.3BSD, but I don't know 
> anybody who uses it in the long term. Many will just change the login 
> shell of root to a Bourne-like shell right away.

Your lack of knowing anyone who uses it, does not indicate lack
of use.  If I want a /bin/sh root user I type:
	su - toor
So now you know someone who uses it!

> I have experimented a bit with the new usability features of sh in 14.0 
> and I must say that it was quite a positive experience. I could easily 
> suppress the urge to install and use bash instead of sh. I wonder if the 
> changes (but not the ones to /etc/passwd) could be MFC'd in a few 
> months, once they have matured a bit, so they would land in 13.1. As you 
> mention elsewhere in this thread, usage in scripts is not affected by 
> these changes. And for interactive use it could be a POLA violation, but 
> the astonishment would be a positive one.
> -- 
> Kind regards,
> Hans Ottevanger
> Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Rod Grimes