Subject: Re: ftp and tar annoyances
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG>
From: John F. Woods <>
List: current-users
Date: 11/14/1997 11:50:38
> John, look, this whole damn thread is about the confusion caused by
> *NOT* allowing traditional tar flags with --unlink.

	tar --unlink xvfb /dev/rmt0 foo

mean that xvfb is bundled flags or not?  If it *does*, then you've changed
the meaning of formerly perfectly good shell scripts.  If it doesn't, you've
missed a case you probably wanted to pick up?

	tar xvfb /dev/rmt0 20 --unlink ...

mean unlink or extract a file named --unlink?  (See above.)  I haven't taken
care to make convincing combinations, but -- is a perfectly good pair of
characters to start a filename with.  Changing the meaning of old scripts
results in confusion (and pain, since these scripts may be running as
background daemons, silently screwing up with no one watching).

*Consistency* is the way to avoid confusion, not special-casing every problem
that someone reports.  (That's why consensus standards so often depart from
good engineering, because consensus standards inevitably are a bag of special
cases from each interested party, with a thin veneer of commonality just to
trip the unwary...)

If I weren't one of those crabby oldsters who can't imagine putting a
- in front of the cvfb in a tar command, I'd suggest tar printing a
warning about the poor extensibility of the traditional flag set and
suggesting that the user report for re-education...  (Only if stderr
looks like a tty, of course.)