Subject: Re: README: nawk vs. gawk
To: NetBSD-current Discussion List <>
From: Todd Vierling <>
List: current-users
Date: 02/02/2001 14:51:11
On Fri, 2 Feb 2001, Greg A. Woods wrote:

: If you'd take the time to try some GNU Awk-isms with nawk then I think
: you'd find that you're only imagining a problem that does not exist.
: How else do you think I found and reported all of the errors I found in
: the base system and pkgsrc?

I don't know yet.  I've been trying to lay out a prerequisite task (check to
make sure that no GNU awkisms will cause improper behavior) before we change
a major program that has been "standard" to NetBSD for YEARS.  Basesrc and
pkgsrc aren't the only places where awk scripts exist; awk is a widely-used
favorite of sysadmin for producing local system management scripts.  So
cleansing basesrc and pkgsrc is not sufficient to ensure that we won't break
established users.

The task is pretty simple:  read and find the GNUisms, and check
that they either work in nawk, or cause a nawk abort.  This is, put simply,
a REGRESSION TEST--something we have resolved to do more often wherever
possible--so your destructive attempts to prevent this should be ignored.

: It was probably a mistake to install GNU Awk as awk in the first place.
: It should always have been called 'gawk', and 'awk' should always have
: been the equivalent of 'gawk --posix'.  But of course hindsight is 20/20.

Yup, and that mistake means that the above is now a required prerequisite
step for going back to nawk in /usr/bin/awk.  How /usr/bin/awk works For
You, installed on Your System, has zero relevance to the NetBSD user
community as a whole.  Please go away and come back when you have gained a
sense of regression testing.

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