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Re: bug in hostname

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: bug in hostname
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 2003 19:56:32 +0200

Steven Augart <address@hidden> wrote:
> I could not agree more.    I am not terribly pleased that there is now a

`now'?  It's been in the sh-utils/coreutils for over 8 years.

I agree in principle that these days coreutils `hostname' program
is often not useful.  But bear in mind that the vast majority of
users don't have a problem because they use these tools via a
distribution mechanism (.rpm, .deb) that arranges not to install
programs like hostname that can cause trouble.

> simple-minded "hostname" command in "coreutils"; after I installed 5.0.92
> (cvs head) in my Linux machine's /usr/local/bin, suddenly the machine
> renamed itself to "--fqdn".  Why?  Because at least one program that
> "root" runs calls "hostname --fqdn" to get the host's fully qualified
> domain name.

Be very careful about installing stock coreutils tools on your system.
Many people experience problems with the fact that head, tail, uniq, etc.
no longer accept options like `-1', `+2' when the tools are built in a
conforming environment.  There are still many scripts that use e.g. `head -1'
and fail badly (or worse, subtly) when head fails.

> Linux, at least, ships with a fine "hostname" in net-tools 1.60, and I'm
> not clear on why the world needs a second one, but I wasn't part of the
> bug-coreutils list at the time that decision was made.   (I've just
> searched the archives and can't find any discussion of such an issue.)
> There has been other correspondence discussing issues of this kind with
> "hostname" at
> http://mail.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-coreutils/2003-04/msg00038.html
> (I like Peter Breitenlohner's suggestion that an option should be
> available not to install some of the executables in coreutils, such as
> "hostname" and "kill", which are already provided by other packages) and

What's wrong with coreutils' kill?

> http://mail.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-coreutils/2003-03/msg00091.html (Bob
> Proulx's <rant>...</rant> at the end is particularly good).

I'm open to the idea of not installing hostname.
Does anyone use it?
Would anyone miss it?

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