Subject: Re: make print-PLIST and pkg_add use different quote/escape conventions
To: None <>
From: J Chapman Flack <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 03/13/2005 19:49:30
> I explicitly pointed this out orthogonally to the quoting fix, which *also*
> should be done.

Check.  I didn't intend to clobber your specific post - as I said, it just
got me started on the state of the world in attention to quoting details. :)

> > At least it *was* innocent.
> No, it wasn't.  Punctuation characters other than a dot (.) should *always*

We're using 'innocent' differently.  I intended 'innocent' in contrast to
'malicious', and that it was - in contrast to easily-imaginable alternatives
that would not be.

That said, we could easily agree it was innocent but also naive.  The author
might be well advised to name everything within the intersection of permitted
character sets from all known filesystems ... or at least to pick a set
of targeted systems and find *their* intersection.  Perhaps that last is
what he has done - he runs on several systems, and his & seems to be
working on all of them (working in the sense of being accepted by the OS
and providing the intended function within his software, though in this case
it causes unrelated software not his to break for quality reasons out of
his control).  Meanwhile, for our own part, it's in our interest to write
code that will not fail on the set of characters allowed in our own
system, even if other systems may exist that disallow some of them.

We (broadly, UNIX hackers of history) have tended to handle this issue by
waiting until some user (who often has no reason to know better) suffers
an unpleasant surprise, and then saying "oh, right, you shouldn't do that."
The next time, it's "oh yeah, and you shouldn't do THAT either."

At my last sysadmin gig, I finally broke down and tried to make a reasonably
complete enumeration of the file names the poor docket clerks needed to
remember never to use, even though the UI (not developed in house) would
happily accept them, and
before somebody had to get burned.  Of course the list turned out to include
any of a list of metacharacters (including space and newline, which irked
people coming from MacOS), names involving "core" (unless you didn't mind
the file disappearing overnight), TRAILER!!!, and so on down half a page.

Efforts toward making that list shorter are efforts toward a more usable OS.