Subject: Re: ^W killed my line
To: None <current-users@netbsd.org>
From: Greg A. Woods <woods@most.weird.com>
List: current-users
Date: 02/29/2000 00:27:53
[ On Monday, February 28, 2000 at 19:56:56 (-0500), der Mouse wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: ^W killed my line
>
> > Where this gets confusing is in the transition between something
> > using libedit and normal stdin.
> 
> Or people who use stty to change their tty characters and are silly
> enough to expect that the change will actually take effect.

Ah, why would anyone expect that changing the tty line edit characters
would have any effect on a character-oriented editor that's built into
some application (such as /bin/sh, ftp, gdb, or whatever)?  Would you
really expect "stty werase :" to change vi's interpretation of ':'?  I
sure wouldn't.  Neither do I assume that "stty erase ^?" will change my
settings of delete-backward-char in emacs or jove.

The only real issues are with us old fogeys who remember the days before
applications had their own built-in command-line editors, and of course
with the problem that there are many input "editors" not just one.

Yes there is some trickery with /bin/sh since it is fundamentally
perceived to be tied to the very idea of command-line input.  However
there's a big difference between "cat -u | sh" and "sh -E"!

> Why not just snip out stty's ability to set special characters, since
> NetBSD obviously doesn't care about anyone who wants to actually use
> that capability?!  (Or even, it appears, use some of the defaults for
> their documented purposes, like ^W for word-erase

I think you're hung up on the idea that the tty driver should be the one
and only king of input editing.

Why not remove vi and perhaps even ed and just use cat if that's the
case?  :-)

(Indeed that's essentially what Pike did with 8 in Plan 9.)

> - or the dsuspc,
> something that's been broken for longer than I've used NetBSD, and I
> keep meaning to figure out what's wrong with it.  I can only assume
> that *nobody* actually uses the dsuspc.)

Most machines are fast enough these days (even a 486!) that I don't
think anyone cares about the difference between DSUSP and SUSP.

> Yes, I'm annoyed.  Very much so.  This linking libedit into everything
> and its dog is rapidly becoming a right royal pain.

Old habits die hard?  Many folks, including myself, look at this in
quite the opposite way!

Indeed I find it somewhat wasteful that all the extra baggage from
"newcrt" was codified (in a new and different way, of course!) in the
termios "standard" (even though I was quite happy about it at the time! :-).
With libedit in enough applications we could probably ditch it all again
and go back to the much more basic V7 style tty line discipline.  I
don't really know where the economy lies, but I would rather see more
complex input editing functions in the applications than in the tty
code, especially if they can all share code from the same library.

-- 
							Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <gwoods@acm.org>      <robohack!woods>
Planix, Inc. <woods@planix.com>; Secrets of the Weird <woods@weird.com>