Obnoxious postings from Google Groups

Gregory Ewing greg.ewing at canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Nov 7 06:52:16 CET 2012

Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> The downside is that if spaces are not argument separators, then you need 
> something else to be an argument separator. Or you need argument 
> delimiters. Or strings need to be quoted. Programming languages do these 
> things because they are designed to be correct. Shell do not because they 
> are designed for lazy users and merely aim to be "good enough".

That's overly judgemental. In the environment where shells originated,
not being able to easily put spaces in file names wasn't considered a
problem. File names weren't thought of as names in the natural language
sense, but as identifiers in the programming sense.

You don't complain that you can't put spaces in identifiers in a
Python program, do you? No, because that would require all identifiers
to be quoted somehow, which would drive you crazy. In the same way,
requiring all filenames to be quoted would drive shell users crazy.


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