Subject: Re: bin/12838: new expr(1) is totally broken
To: Ross Harvey <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: netbsd-bugs
Date: 05/04/2001 23:11:31
[ On Friday, May 4, 2001 at 19:51:41 (-0700), Ross Harvey wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: bin/12838: new expr(1) is totally broken
> > Seriously speaking all complex software should be re-written from
> > scratch as often as humanly and economically possible.  And maybe even
> > more often than that.
> Wow. The appropriate response in a technical forum would be to ignore a
> statement like this, or give a patient and reasoned reply on the subject.

A decent number of computer scientists and indeed even many real
engineers will agree strongly with my first statement above.  How many
people wouldn't like to re-build a large building, bridge, or dam, again
from scratch after learning from all the mistakes (tiny or otherwise)
made in the original project?

> And in any case, rewrites have their place. What I actually said was: "don't
> replace SW that has been tested for years with _casual_ rewrites", emphasis
> added.

I didn't dispute that now, did I....  Indeed your added emphasis helps
make that even more clear.

However I for one never felt that any incarnation of NetBSD's `expr'
ever quite lived up to the proprietary Unix implemenation(s) that I'd
used in the past and so I'm not so sure that a rewrite was such a bad
thing, even if it wasn't quite so polished as your average perfectionist
might desire to see the first time around.  :-)

Never the less just because the NetBSD `expr' had already gone through
one rewrite during its short lifetime doesn't necessarily mean that it
shouldn't undergo another....

> I also object to the apparent assumption that yacc is better.

I didn't intend to make that assumption -- sorry if it came out that way....

							Greg A. Woods

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