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bug#6235: hostname and -b option

From: C de-Avillez
Subject: bug#6235: hostname and -b option
Date: Thu, 20 May 2010 18:16:50 -0500

On Thu, 2010-05-20 at 16:31 -0600, Eric Blake wrote:
> > Unfortunately, Ubuntu's startup script puts /usr/local/bin ahead of
> > /bin and /usr/bin, thus getting a version of hostname that chokes on
> > the -b option.  We patched the configuration file to force an explicit
> > path:
> > 
> >     exec /bin/hostname -b -F /etc/hostname
> Correct - Ubuntu's script is buggy if it uses non-standard options
> without an explicit path to a version of the utility known to provide
> those options.

Ubuntu does not install *anything* under /usr/local -- this is a path
reserved for local stuff. On Ubuntu, 'hostname' is installed from the
hostname package. As such, there are no non-standard options being


> > [I'm not urging that this be done, merely that it be discussed.  In my
> > view, Ubuntu is at fault for introducing nonstandard options, and
> > messing up the boot PATH, and failing to use explicit paths on
> > critical boot-time commands.
> Your view is correct.

I was looking at the coreutils source (git). 'hostname' is set not to be
installed by default (together with 'arch' and 'su') -- unless one
runs ./configure  --instal-program=hostname.

I am failing to see how Ubuntu is messing up the boot path;
additionally, there is no conflict for 'hostname' unless one installs
something outside of the distribution (but, then, all bets are off,
anyways). For example, I usually run coreutils git, and have no problems
like the OP.

Thank you,


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