[PATCH] adding two new options to 'cp'

Mike Meyer mwm-keyword-freebsdhackers2.e313df at mired.org
Mon Jul 31 15:23:16 UTC 2006

In <44CE199C.2020500 at centtech.com>, Eric Anderson <anderson at centtech.com> typed:
> On 07/31/06 09:11, Mike Meyer wrote:
> > In <44CE03D2.2050803 at centtech.com>, Eric Anderson <anderson at centtech.com> typed:
> >> The patch doesn't change any current behavior, nor should it be noticed 
> >> by anyone not looking for it.  However, it is useful, and it does make 
> >> our cp work just like the GNU cp, which eases the migration path for 
> >> linux->FreeBSD users.
> > Is emulating Linux behavior that good an idea? I mean, if I want
> > Linux, I can download and install a copy. The joke about "Linux is for
> > people who hate Windows; FreeBSD is for people who love Unix" is funny
> > to me *because* it seems to capture the difference between the two
> > systems so accurately. I like Unix/BSD because I feel like the
> > developers respect the user, and are willing to let the user do pretty
> > much anything they need to do, even if there's no obvious reason for
> > them to want that. I detest Windows because the developers treat the
> > the user like an idiot, and write software that does things the way
> > they think the user should want to do them - and make it impossible to
> > do things that the developers don't think users would ever need/want
> > to do. Linux seems to have more of the latter attitude than the
> > former. [And no, I don't think this patch has that attitude; I just
> > don't think that "that's how linux does it" is a valid argument:
> > freebsd isn't linux.]
> The reasoning was not simply to make it like linux, that's just a side 
> effect.

That doesn't make the "to makes it more like Linux" argument a good
reason to change FreeBSD.

> >> I suppose I'm just missing the reason *not* to commit such a simple and 
n> >> useful set of options.
> > Feature bloat. Or, more verbosely, this doesn't add any new
> > functionality to the system, while adding things that we would rather
> > minimize.
> This is a really funny reason not to.  Honestly, if you believe that, 
> that you probably don't use cp at all, since dd can do it.

Yes, I believe that. Adding features does *not* necessarily improve a
system. If you want it added, give us *good* reasons to add it. Lack
of a good reason not to add a feature is *not* a good reason to add
the feature.

Personally, I'm neutral on this change, other than not wanting FreeBSD
to bloat any more than it already is. Given good reasons, I'd say
commit it. The reasons you just provided are specious.

> > If the functionality is all that useful, then people should have
> > already created shell code to make this functionality easily available
> > via the tools that already have it. If nobody needs this functionality
> > often enough to have done that, is it something that we want to
> > enshrine in compiled code?
> To me, I read this as saying: "If it was useful, it would have already 
> been done, and since it isn't, it must not be needed by anyone."

How does "people would have created shell code to make this easy to
do" equate to "someone would have already added an option for it"? You
claim that the code provides "useful functionality". If it's useful,
then people should be using the alternatives frequently. Command lines
that people use frequently tend to get enshrined in shell scripts, or
aliases, or shell functions, or whatever. Moving such things into
commands is a standard path for Unix code, and has been since at least
v6. So, if you want to take that step, can you show that it's really
used frequently enough to warrant getting a dedicated option?

Mike Meyer <mwm at mired.org>		http://www.mired.org/consulting.html
Independent Network/Unix/Perforce consultant, email for more information.

More information about the freebsd-hackers mailing list