Subject: Re: README: nawk vs. gawk
To: NetBSD-current Discussion List <>
From: Todd Vierling <>
List: current-users
Date: 02/01/2001 18:50:27
On Thu, 1 Feb 2001, Greg A. Woods wrote:

: It should not be necessary for NetBSD Awk to go beyond POSIX.

However, it *already has*, and we'll be breaking compatibility with scripts
that sysadmins have rolled over the time NetBSD has had gawk (several

: People who have used only GNU Awk might be worse
: offenders, but it's hard to stray from the POSIX Awk specification even
: with GNU Awk, and of course you can trivially check your programs by
: using '--posix'.

However, we never set our gawk to be --posix by default, so people whose
scripts already use GNU extensions (and never knew that they were using GNU
extensions in the first place) will be very surprised to see their scripts,
which call /usr/bin/awk, suddenly break.

We must do one of the following two options for *ALL* GNU extensions in

1. Recognize the extension and emulate it in nawk;

2. Recognize the extension and cause an abort in nawk, if it is not already
   recognized as an error.

Any other silent failure, or worse yet, silent misoperation mode is
completely unacceptable, as it would break backward compatibility in a bad

-- Todd Vierling <>  *  Wasabi NetBSD:  Run with it.
-- NetBSD 1.5 now available on CD-ROM  --