Subject: Re: Shell behaviour regarding PATH
To: None <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 02/11/2000 10:05:19
[ On Friday, February 11, 2000 at 02:12:35 (-0800), Todd Whitesel wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: Shell behaviour regarding PATH
> Argh, I am sorry to perpetuate this thread, but I really have to place
> a vote in favor of the historical behavior. I don't think it's an error.
> It is how you implement a command line that accepts either commands or
> pathnames to programs, with no ambiguity between the two unless you
> deliberately add "." to your PATH.

Not to go on too long, but yes, I agree 100%!  :-)

In fact I was quite surprised after thinking things through in this
context that "." was in fact a part of the default search path for the
Plan 9 "rc" shell.  I fully expected it to be just "/bin" until I read
to the bottom of the manual page this time.  I guess old habits die
hard!  :-)

I've almost given up on putting "." (or rather an empty sub-field) in my
$PATH on Unix too, and I've been recommending the same to new users of
Unix that I've been helping too.  I find they have a much deeper
understanding of $PATH and relative pathnames if they learn to always
use "./foo" when they mean to run something locally.  It also saves from
having to explain to them why "test" won't run their local "test"
program -- they figure that out naturally on their own if they
understand the basics and knowing that they figured this out on their
own is even more important to their learning.

							Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <>      <robohack!woods>
Planix, Inc. <>; Secrets of the Weird <>