CFT: BSD grep

Gabor Kovesdan gabor at
Tue Aug 26 18:40:19 UTC 2008

Hello all,

I've reviewed BSD grep based on your comments and the bug reports I 
received. The new version is committed to the ports tree as 
textproc/bsdgrep and there is a base patch available:

I've asked portmgr to test my patch on pointyhat if they have available 
resources, but haven't got an answer yet. In the meantime, I'd like to 
ask for your comments and feedback on BSD grep. Currently, it is 
supposed to be highly compatible with GNU grep, except from some 
differences in the handling of the regular expressions. This comes from 
the different manners in the GNU regex library and in our regex library, 
thus it would be very difficult to fix at the level of grep. For 
example, GNU grep accepts empty subexpressions in regexes, like "(|b)", 
but BSD grep does not. I don't know how often such non-standard 
constructions are used, we need to see the results of a portbuild first, 
but I know that there are some in portmaster. That's why I CC'd Doug, 
I'm interested in his comments.

There are another question to discuss. GNU grep supports -P for Perl 
regexes based on PCRE. This is not available in FreeBSD, though, but I'd 
be glad to add it to BSD grep. This would require us to import PCRE to 
base. It is BSD-licensed and maybe other tools would make use of it in 
the future. I don't know how this can cooperate with the ports version 
and how difficult it would be to maintain it in base. I remember that 
Perl was removed from base due to this overhead. What do you think about 
this? I've CC'd krion@, the maintainer of devel/pcre, maybe he can 
comment on this.


More information about the freebsd-current mailing list