[ILUG] repair permissions
blf at blf.utvinternet.co.uk
Thu Mar 17 20:03:20 GMT 2005
| From: Niall O Broin <niall at linux.ie>
| Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 11:47:07 +0000
| On 16 Mar 2005, at 20:43, Brian Foster wrote:
| > I've never understood why BSD added `-R' to chown(1) [ ... ]
| > since find(1) [ existed ], the functionality was present [ ... ]
| The only answer to this is Neal Stephenson's classic essay about the
| Hole Hawg, which you can read at http://www.team.net/mjb/hawg.html .
| The 6th paragraph sums the matter up nicely IMO.
( I hope I have trimmed down my original e-mail to the part Niall
is commenting on — Niall quoted almost all of it, including
paragraphs which clearly do not apply to the referenced essay. )
the 6th paragraph can be summarised in several ways, including
(but perhaps not limited to):
• “tools are never badly designed. but you can still get hurt.”
the first part is clearly absurd.
I doubt it is what is meant.
• “use a professional power tool incorrectly and you can get hurt.”
so, what _is_ the power tool here? `chmod -R'? or `find'?
my answer is the classic paper by Rob Pike and Brian W Kernighan,
“Cat -V Considered Harmful”, http://netlib.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/doc/
“[ Unix ] is successful in part because it has a small number
of good ideas that work well together. Merely adding features
does not make it easier for users to do things — it just makes
the manual thicker. The right solution in the right place is
always more effective than haphazard hacking.”
in case it is not clear, I maintain `chmod -R' is a badly designed
tool, arguably produced by “haphazard hacking”, and `find' is the
p.s. what I found funny whilst using Google™ (where Pike now works,
b.t.w.) to verify the above is that whilst a number of Unix
cat(1) manual pages refer to the paper, neither the GNU manual
page nor `info cat' do.
Experienced (20+ yrs) kernel/software Eng: | Brian Foster Montpellier,
• Unix, embedded, &tc; • Linux; • doc; | blf at utvinternet.ie FRANCE
• IDL, automated testing, process, &tc. | Stop E$$o (ExxonMobile)!
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