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Re: [Lzip-bug] adding lunzip or something like that

From: Antonio Diaz Diaz
Subject: Re: [Lzip-bug] adding lunzip or something like that
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 21:43:57 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i586; en-US; rv:1.7.11) Gecko/20050905

Hello Daniel,

Daniel Baumann wrote:
most compressors offer a 'dedicated' uncompression binary, e.g. gunzip
or bunzip2. in order to use lzip as a drop-in replacement in such
situations, how about adding a lunzip binary equivalent to 'lzip -cdfq'?

As Mario points out, those are not dedicated binaries but links, copies or one-line scripts calling "$tool -d".

Using links or copies is disapproved by the GNU Coding standards[1]:

"Please don't make the behavior of a utility depend on the name used to invoke it. It is useful sometimes to make a link to a utility with a different name, and that should not change what it does."

As bzip2 is not trying to be part of GNU, bunzip2 is a copy of bzip2 (cp -f bzip2 $(PREFIX)/bin/bunzip2). The effect is more or less the same as a link, only more wasteful (and perhaps more compatible with non-posix systems).

Gunzip OTOH, is a script calling "gzip -d", which just adds another dependency to the projects calling gunzip, making them more fragile in return for nothing. Automake[2], for example, has already stopped using gunzip, bunzip2, etc.

"Replace unlzma, gunzip, bunzip2 with pack tool -d invocation.
 * lib/am/distdir.am (distcheck): Use lzma -d, gzip -d, bzip2 -d,
 instead of the respective un$tool invocation, to avoid depending
 on another tool."

Maybe offering a dedicated uncompression binary (including only the decompression code) could make sense for embedded devices, but offering a link, copy or script does not make sense in any case.

So the best way for lzip to become a drop-in replacement for gzip and bzip2 is that gzip and bzip2 stop shipping those fake decompressors and people stop using them.

Pretending that people stop using fake decompressors may sound unreasonable but: 1) Doing it would benefit everyone; we would have more robust, less bloated software.
2) There is no "untar", but people happily uses "tar -x" instead.
3) "Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people. (George Bernard Shaw)"

Best regards,

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