Python surpasses Perl in popularity?

Andre Majorel cheney at
Mon Dec 1 11:16:36 CET 2008

On 2008-11-30, Stephane Chazelas <stephane.chazelas at> wrote:
> 2008-11-30, 06:11(+00), Tam Ha:
>> Stephane CHAZELAS wrote:
>>> There's a common confusion in this in the nature of /bin/sh.
>>> There's no standard (neither POSIX nor Unix) that specifies that
>>> /bin/sh should be any variant of the Bourne shell.
>> Sure there is, POSIX.
> [...]
> And on this. First, POSIX has no juridiction on defining the
> Bourne shell, let alone its location as the Bourne shell is
> completely outside POSIX, it's a legacy shell and as been for
> years. Then, POSIX makes it clear that the location of its sh
> utility (again, which the Bourne shell is not) is unspecified,
> only that the lookup of "sh" via $PATH in a conformant
> environment should resolve to a conformant "sh".
> And if you need some examples to be convinced, see the different
> choices of those 4 different POSIX conformant Unices:
> Solaris (7, 8, 9 at least):
>   /bin/sh: legacy Bourne/SVr4 shell
>   /usr/xpg4/bin/sh: a POSIX compliant shell (actually ksh88)
>   Solaris choice was to keep /bin/sh as the Bourne shell for
>   backward compatibility (as changing it for a POSIX shell
>   introduces a slight chance of breaking some existing scripts
>   as there are a few corner-case areas where the POSIX shells
>   are not backward compatible with the Bourne shell), and make
>   /bin a non standard place. How to get a conformant environment
>   (typically one where /usr/xpg4/bin/sh is before /bin) is
>   described in standards(5). The default one is not, which makes
>   Solaris a pain when porting scripts.
> HPUX (10.10 and newer at least):
>   /usr/bin/sh (and /bin/sh if there's a symlink /bin ->
>   usr/bin): a POSIX compliant shell (based on ksh88)
>   /usr/old/bin/sh: the Bourne shell (though I think nowadays,
>   it's part of an optional package).
> Tru64:
>   /bin/sh can behave either as a Bourne shell or a POSIX shell
>   (ksh88) depending on the environment

How does it decide ? argv[0] ? isatty (STDIN_FILENO) ?

> most Linux based systems and most other Unices:
>   /bin/sh is a POSIX compliant shell (bash generally for Linux)
>   and there's no Bourne shell (either there has never been or it
>   has been removed/replaced by a POSIX shell).

Two other Unixen I know of that have a non-POSIX sh are SCO Open
Server and UnixWare. I'm not sure they even provide a
POSIX-compliant alternative like Solaris does.

On the other hand, their utilities (awk, grep, sed et al.) seem
to be POSIX-compliant, at least to the extent that I've always
managed. Unlike Solaris where I've often had to use the ones in

Many people assume "standard" equates "portable". As far as
shell programming is concerned, the safest way to get portability
is to ignore the standard and code for the Bourne shell.

André Majorel <URL:>
"After 15 minutes, I wanted to marry her. After a half hour, I completely
gave up the idea of snatching her purse." -- _Take the Money and Run_

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