[*] Oh the ANSI C wars were fun :-) -- Kevin Davidson Apple Certified System Administrator Sent from my iPhone
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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") - ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can find the EdLUG mailing list FAQ list at: http://www.edlug.org.uk/list_faq.html
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