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Re: does it really need gnu patch?

From: Ben Collins-Sussman <sussman_at_collab.net>
Date: 2001-11-25 00:20:05 CET

"Perry E. Metzger" <perry@piermont.com> writes:

> Ben Collins-Sussman <sussman@collab.net> writes:
> > > Does it really need GNU patch or would it be safe to remove that
> > > requirement?
> >
> > I know that we require GNU diff, because it's the only version of diff
> > that can deal with files that don't end with a newline.
>
> We do, in fact, have GNU diff in NetBSD (because RCS and CVS need it too.)

I use FreeBSD, and learned (the hard way) that while the 'diff'
included in /usr/src *claims* to be GNU diff, it turns out that the
FreeBSD team actually hacked it to lose certain behaviors. Hence the
autoconf test for a 'non-hacked' GNU diff.

>
> > As for GNU patch, I'm not sure why we require it. Probably just to be
> > consistent. Does anyone remember who wrote ac-helpers/gnu-patch.sh,
> > and why? :-)
>
> If there isn't a specific requirement it would be cool to allow other
> kinds of patch....

Hmmm. It turns out I added the GNU patch requirement back on June
27th. I wonder what I was smoking; the log message doesn't say why.
I'm guessing that I was just looking for consistency... ?

On my FreeBSD box, /usr/local/bin/patch is GNU patch 2.5, while the
standard system 'patch' is Larry Wall's version 2.1.

Really, I've never witnessed any issues that have to do with differing
versions of 'patch'. My inclination is just to throw out the GNU
requirement. But then who knows? Maybe we'll discover a bug that
results. What do other people think?

>
> > (The background is: we have no internal diff/patch library, because
> > after searching for over a year, we can't find one that isn't GPLed.
> > (CVS uses a librarized version of GNU diffutils.) Therefore we use
> > the external GNU diff and patch.)
>
> The original patch wasn't GPLed, btw. It only got GPLed after FSF
> started maintaining it.

Sure. But do you want to turn Larry Wall's patch code into a library?
And do you have a non-GPLed diff implementation that we can do the
same thing to? Sounds like quite a project. :-(

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Received on Sat Oct 21 14:36:49 2006

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