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Re: RFC: Change to the way sh -x works ?

In article <>,
Robert Elz  <kre%munnari.OZ.AU@localhost> wrote:
>I am planning (well, have more or less implemented, but not committed)
>a small change to the way "sh -x" works, to cause the trace output (from -x)
>to continue appearing on the stderr that existed when the -x option was
>turned on - rather than following stderr around as the script alters it.
>An example of the effect ...
>	andromeda$ ENV=/dev/null PS4='+ ' sh -x /tmp/tst
>	+ exec 2>/dev/null
>	andromeda$ ENV=/dev/null PS4='+ ' ./sh -x /tmp/tst
>	+ exec 2>/dev/null
>	+ test 0 -eq 1
>	+ printf '%s\n' 'Usage: /tmp/tst log-file (with errors)' >&2
>	+ exit 1
>The ENV=/dev/null is just to avoid noise from my normal $ENV generating more
>output.   /tmp/tst is a copy of an irrelevant script that is supposed
>to be run with one arg - when it isn't (as here) it prints a usage message
>and exits.   I modified it by inserting "exec 2>/dev/null" right at the
>start of the script, which is why this demo uses a copy in /tmp instead
>of the original (which is not called "tst"...)
>The first invocation above (using "sh") is the old way.  Once the exec
>command which moves stderr is performed, the tracing goes with it, so we
>see no more trace lines.
>The second ("./sh") is the new way, tracing continues on the stderr that
>the shell started with (as the -x option was turned on on the command line.)
>For this, stderr is remembered only when tracing turns from off to on,
>if it is on already, and another "set -x" is performed, nothing changes.
>That is deliberate, to avoid the trace output randomly moving around in
>scripts that have "set -x" in them, but are then run with -x on the
>command line (and similar effects).   To change the destination of tracing,
>one needs to turn it off, then on again (eg: set +x -x 2>/tmp/newtrace).
>And yes, if tracing is off, "set -x 2>/tmp/trace-file" works as expected
>(tracing goes to the file in /tmp (in this example), the redirect is in
>effect only for the "set" command, so after that, "normal" stderr is
>Two questions.
>Does anyone have any objection to (or suggestions for) this?
>Would it be better to have this controlled by an option (perhaps -X ?)
>so users/scripts can use whichever method they prefer, and if so, what
>should the default setting be?
>ps: this only applies to "-x" output, not that from the (superficially
>similar) -v - mostly because (except when used as sh -nv script) I consider
>the -v option largely as a waste of time, and in that one case where it
>is useful, nothing actually gets executed (it is just a script syntax check)
>so stderr can't be changed.

I like it, but I have the same questions as you (should that be a separate
option -X and what should be the default). I'd say the safe choice is to make
it a separate option for now.


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