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Re: sort --random-sort

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: sort --random-sort
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 13:46:48 -0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.1007 (Gnus v5.10.7) Emacs/21.4 (gnu/linux)

ThMO <address@hidden> writes:

> /dev/urandom does *not* provide high quality pseudo-random numbers,

Yes, and thanks for your comments, but the existing substitute doesn't
provide them either, so from the point of view of randomness quality
it wouldn't be a loss to use /dev/urandom if available.

An advantage of using /dev/urandom is that, if the lack of quality is
an issue, we can blame the kernel rather than blaming our own code.
I'm half-joking here, but I'm half-serious as well.  If coreutils can
avoid the hassle of providing support for reasonably-high-quality
random numbers, then I'd rather go that route.

> Even if considering `shred' (or the various wipe tools available), there is
> mostly no need for good randomness, or even randomness at all,

OK, in that case then let's modify 'shred' so that it doesn't rely on
random numbers at all.  (It'd make for one less red herring to kill....)

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