Subject: Re: USE_GNU_TOOLS+= awk in NetBSD 2.0 requires lang/gawk, why?
To: Dan McMahill <>
From: grant beattie <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 06/19/2004 12:51:10
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On Fri, Jun 18, 2004 at 06:25:23AM -0400, Dan McMahill wrote:

> On Thu, Jun 17, 2004 at 07:20:41PM +0200, Juan RP wrote:
> >=20
> > My question is the same than the subject of this email, why do I need t=
o install
> > gawk when nawk from NetBSD 2.0 is enough?
> >=20
> > Really, I don't want to install gawk and maybe I'm not alone...
> >=20
> nawk isn't 100% compatible with gawk?  I'd be suprised if we have
> pkgs which actually need the gawk extensions (now that nawk's
> gensub() has been fixed) but there are, I think, still a few differences
> here and there.  I do not have any examples though where nawk
> wouldn't work.

nawk(1) on most platforms I understand would be based on an earlier
version of the nawk sources, eg. Solaris, IRIX, other BSDs maybe?
sometimes NetBSD adds functionality to tools to make them more GNU
compatible. in the case of nawk this has been only very recently.

problems with using GNU extensions with nawk are still cropping up in
places on 2.0/-current and the only safe option is to explicitly say
that NetBSD 2.0 does not have GNU awk - it's also the truth :)

if nawk later passes all the GNU awk regression tests and is generally
considered to be GNU awk compatible, we can easily note the

the issue is that there is no sane way to know for certain whether a
tool in the base system can or will provide functionality needed by a
package. if a package claims to need GNU awk, the only sensible thing
for the tools stuff to do is provide it. already provides a way for us to know whether a tool on any
platform is GNU or GNU compatible, expanding that to include specific
functionality of tools doesn't sound like a very maintainable
solution. there does, however, need to be a clearer distinction
between known working tools and GNU tools, and it seems like this
would be a step in the right direction.


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