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Re: [edlug] tsort command

Kevin Davidson wrote:
> Anybody creating a concordance would find a use for ptx. Know any  
> linguists? (My father spent years writing software in Spitbol, Snobol  
> and later Perl and Python to produce this kind of result).
> Indexing a book?

As has been demonstrated, its output bears no useful resemblance to
the index of a book - no line numbers, for a start.  A bit of
wikipedia-mining tells me ptx implements a "KeyWord in Context"
algorithm, and that these were a handy way of indexing archives of
technical articles by title "before computerized full text search
became common".

I've got a linguistics degree, and frankly I'll take grep any day!

> I've used linkers as late as the early 90s that required tsort, lorder  
> and ranlib to create archives suitable for one-pass linking. Wonderful  
> as the Gnu compilers and binutils are, in those days not every machine  
> had the RAM and diskspace to run it...

I'm sure people did plenty of esoteric things decades ago - but that
hardly explains what these executables are doing on my path today.
After all, I don't have gcc or binutils...

> There may be other obscure shell scripts that rely on things like this, 
> so there's no good reason to exclude them from a bundle of commands that 
> have existed since Version 7 (which predates System V in case the version 
> numbers are confusing :-) )

There's backwards-compatibility and then there's mediaeval
reenactment!  GNU coreutils isn't a leftover from the seventies; it
was created from a merger of fileutils, shellutils, and textutils.
And tsort and ptx were first added to GNU textutils in 1999...

Oh, here's another example of a baffling coreutils program: link.
It's obvious what it does: it creates hardlinks (and that's all).
But what was the point of adding it to a collection that already
included ln?
JBR - Ilinniaqqikkiarturtinniqartussaq
(West Greenlandic: "one who should be sent to further his studies")
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