Subject: Re: Recursive grep (where is limfree defined?)
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Jeff Thieleke <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/23/1996 15:36:25
> I think the point here is one which cgd makes well:  If you're going to
> add recursion to one text-processing-based/oriented utility, why not
> do it to all of them?  Even adding it to grep is not particularly useful.
> You can tout it all you want, but it's not that much of a win, and
> I sincerely doubt you will find enough people who would like to see
> it as a PR or a patch in the tree.

You really think that most people wouldn't appreciate a recursive grep?  
So far, I have seen 2 people (including you) that have strongly come out 
against it, and 2 (including me) for it.  

Granted, there might be 10,000 people out there laughing at the though of
a recursive grep, but you can't tell me that there aren't scores of
average users (the ones who don't have their panties in a bunch over
"non-historical" arguments) that could really use a recursive grep.  Also,
you have to figure that it is a lot easier to say come out in contempt of a 
rgrep than it is to come out in defense of it, and be thrown to the 
lions, as it were. 

> There are times, sure, where I do such find/xargs combinations, but
> they're rare.  If you're going to be doing it many times on the same
> tree, you're probably better off simply creating a word list, grepping
> on all the possibly relevant files, and creating a database containing a
> list of files containing the relevant words.  Time spent writing a tool
> is probably better spent here than trying to fancy up 'grep' which, as
> far as I'm concerned, probably has too many flags as it is, but without
> almost all of which we can no longer survive.

The point is that the recursive grep patch is already written, and it 
would take zero effort to included it in the NetBSD distribution.  If you 
want to write your database tool, then by all means, go ahead and write 
it.  Such a tool would be far too complicated for typical searches - 
why build a whole datebase just to search for one word.  For a file space 
as large as /usr/src/sys, you would need to search for a lot of patterns 
before you would even break even, compared to rgrep or find/grep.  Also, 
as others have pointed out, similar tools already exist.

Jeff Thieleke