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Slashdot: David Korn [author of the Korn shell, ksh] Tells All

Feb 08, 2001, 01:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Korn)

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"Can you engage in a little unadulterated advocacy for a moment to offer some reasons why an informed user might consider using ksh over bash or other popular UNIX shells? What does ksh provide that other shells don't? Similarly, can you give a realistic appraisal of ksh's drawbacks as compared to bash or other shells?"

"There are two different areas of functionality in shells. First is interactive use and the second is scripting. Much of the debate about shells has focused on interactive use only. For example, tcsh is an acceptable shell for interactive use but practically unusable for scripting."

"In many cases the argument over which shell is best for interactive use is based upon which key to press for completion. This is a little like arguing that Solaris is better than Windows because of location of the Control and Shift keys or that vi is better than emacs because you you can save a keystroke or two. Most popular shells have similar functionality with respect to interactive use."

"It is hard to argue that ksh is any better for interaction, given all the features in tcsh and zsh. But the scripting features in ksh93 are far more advanced than any other shell that I am aware of. For scripting, I feel that ksh is more in the category of perl/tcl/python and I would like to see debates/comparisons for those languages rather than the antiquated bash/csh/etc...."

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