bug#18648: rm -f with no file operands fails on old BSD systems

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bug#18648: rm -f with no file operands fails on old BSD systems

Richard Hansen
Hi all,

A friend reported this to me:

> $ ./configure
> ...
> usage: rm [-f|-i] [-dPRrvW] file ...
> Oops!
>
> Your 'rm' program seems unable to run without file operands specified
> on the command line, even when the '-f' option is present.  This is contrary
> to the behaviour of most rm programs out there, and not conforming with
> the upcoming POSIX standard: <http://austingroupbugs.net/view.php?id=542>
>
> Please tell [hidden email] about your system, including the value
> of your $PATH and any error possibly output before this message.  This
> can help us improve future automake versions.
>
> Aborting the configuration process, to ensure you take notice of the issue.
>
> You can download and install GNU coreutils to get an 'rm' implementation
> that behaves properly: <http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>.
>
> If you want to complete the configuration process using your problematic
> 'rm' anyway, export the environment variable ACCEPT_INFERIOR_RM_PROGRAM
> to "yes", and re-run configure.
>
> configure: error: Your 'rm' program is bad, sorry.
> $ uname -a
> NetBSD example.com 4.0_STABLE NetBSD 4.0_STABLE (GENERIC) #4: Wed Mar 14 13:59:06 EDT 2012  [hidden email]:/usr/obj/sparc/sys/arch/sparc/compile/GENERIC sparc
> $ /bin/rm -f
> usage: rm [-f|-i] [-dPRrvW] file ...
> $ echo $?
> 1

Digging around in various CVS/Subversion repositories, it looks like
there are many old (but perhaps not yet museum-worthy) *BSD versions
that behave this way:

  * NetBSD 4.x and older (5.0 released April 2009).  see: [1] [2]
  * FreeBSD 3.1.x and older (3.2 released May 1999).  see: [3] [4]
  * OpenBSD 2.x and older (3.0 released Dec 2001).  see [5]

Given this, I wonder if POSIX bug #542 [6] should be revisited. Perhaps
that bug should change the wording to "unspecified" for Issue 7 TC2, and
we can file a new bug report to adopt the wording currently in #542 for
Issue 8.  Thoughts?

Thanks,
Richard

[1] http://cvsweb.netbsd.org/bsdweb.cgi/src/bin/rm/rm.c#rev1.47
[2] http://gnats.netbsd.org/cgi-bin/query-pr-single.pl?number=38754
[3] https://svnweb.freebsd.org/base?view=revision&revision=44282
[4] https://bugs.freebsd.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=10252
[5] http://cvsweb.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb/src/bin/rm/rm.c#rev1.10
[6] http://austingroupbugs.net/view.php?id=542



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bug#18648: rm -f with no file operands fails on old BSD systems

Philip Guenther
On Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 7:51 PM, Richard Hansen <[hidden email]> wrote:
...
> Digging around in various CVS/Subversion repositories, it looks like
> there are many old (but perhaps not yet museum-worthy) *BSD versions
> that behave this way:
>
>   * NetBSD 4.x and older (5.0 released April 2009).  see: [1] [2]
>   * FreeBSD 3.1.x and older (3.2 released May 1999).  see: [3] [4]
>   * OpenBSD 2.x and older (3.0 released Dec 2001).  see [5]

Speaking on behalf of the OpenBSD project: OpenBSD 2.x should be
considered dead, buried, rotted, and worthy of derision.  History is
history: useful to study, but if you try to live there you will die of
horrific diseases.  Do not hold up progress on the basis that you'll
trip over a 12+ year old release.


Philip Guenther
[hidden email]



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bug#18648: rm -f with no file operands fails on old BSD systems

Stefano Lattarini
tags 18648 + wontfix
stop

On 10/07/2014 05:00 AM, Philip Guenther wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 7:51 PM, Richard Hansen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> ...
>> Digging around in various CVS/Subversion repositories, it looks like
>> there are many old (but perhaps not yet museum-worthy) *BSD versions
>> that behave this way:
>>
>>    * NetBSD 4.x and older (5.0 released April 2009).  see: [1] [2]
>>    * FreeBSD 3.1.x and older (3.2 released May 1999).  see: [3] [4]
>>    * OpenBSD 2.x and older (3.0 released Dec 2001).  see [5]
>
> Speaking on behalf of the OpenBSD project: OpenBSD 2.x should be
> considered dead, buried, rotted, and worthy of derision.  History is
> history: useful to study, but if you try to live there you will die of
> horrific diseases.  Do not hold up progress on the basis that you'll
> trip over a 12+ year old release.
>
> Philip Guenther
> [hidden email]
>

I belatedly agree with Philip.  Even the last "free" BSD release to be
affected (NetBSD 4.0) is 5 and a half years old, and in the fast-moving
scenario of today's computing that sounds like a different geological
era, IMHO. We should not allow the habits the autotools community had
to develop "under duress" during the Unix wars period to affect today's
progress.