tech-userlevel archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Old Index]

Re: Default behaviour of 'ifconfig'

On Fri, Dec 03, 2010 at 09:48:10PM -0500, der Mouse wrote:
> > tcsh and csh are giving awful feedback:
> > csh: {1} ifconfig -?
> > ifconfig: No match.
> > Ifconfig said what?!
> ifconfig said it can't find anything matching a glob pattern,
> conceptually speaking.

My point is that the concept this message imparts is highly misleading.
:-) I can search ifconfig's manual and source code, and I'm not going to
find any explanation for this error 'No match' that purports to be from
ifconfig.  Maybe I know too much: somebody with a different mental model
than you and I of the shell and the utilities, and how they interact,
may not be so badly mislead.

> > To use a bare ? for pattern matching probably made sense forty years
> > ago, given the technology of the day.  Today, I think a chord such as
> > Alt-? might be more appropriate, but we're using a 40 year-old
> > terminal abstraction.
> Not only that, but it requires that all keyboards have an alt key, that
> alt-? be distinguishable from other keystrokes, and that shell command
> lines be made up of keystrokes rather than characters.  It could be
> done, but it wouldn't be very much like Unix any longer.

It wouldn't be much like UNIX in the 1970s, I agree.  We're living in an
n-key rollover era.

> > Regardless, the shell should visually indicate the special status of
> > the character using color, reverse-video, or underscoring, when the
> > terminal supports that.
> This has basically the same problem, only in the other direction:
> you're substantially enriching the minimal capabilities required to
> support the interface.  It could be done, but it would be incompatible
> in a relatively crippling way.

It's not enriching the minimum required capabilities at all.  It's using
a richer set of capabilities when they're available.  Today we have a
worse UI than what's possible because we're in a teletype mindset.


David Young             OJC Technologies      Urbana, IL * (217) 278-3933

Home | Main Index | Thread Index | Old Index