Richard Bucker

Dear clueless assholes: stop bashing bash and GNU.

Posted at — Sep 28, 2014

I do not know enough about the true history or motivation of the GNU way of doing things. Over the years I have observed an acceleration of free and open “things” that might owe it’s velocity to GNU. But then there was a lot going on in those days. Any number of projects could and would have usurped GNU with simple mindshare had the timing been right.But that’s not my reason for the comment. I take issue with the comment “Shellshock is not a critical failure in bash. It is a critical failure in thousands of people who knew a tool so useful that they decided to deploy it far beyond its scope.” Eric S Raymond wrote a book called “The Art of UNIX Programming”. (ESR is no less important to the Open Source and Free communities). In section 1.6 titled “Basics of the Unix Philosophy” he writes 17 rules. The first 2 or 3 seem to immediately contradict Andrew’s conjecture.Rule 1) Rule of Modularity: Write simple parts connected by clean interfacesRule 2) Rule of Clarity: Clarity of better than clevernessRule 3) Rule of Composition: design programs to be connected with other programsFrankly; who is to say what exactly the scope of bash was? I have read much of the man pages and some of the code and I do not recall anything that would suggest “don’t do because bad things will happen”. That’s just silly.That this exploit exists in BASH cannot be debated, however, to defend RMS by suggesting “free” trumps “responsibility” is nonsense. It looks like someone, could be RMS, added a “clever” feature to bash which is now being composed into the exploit which we all now fear.As I hinted. I do not think his income or quality of life has anything to do with the argument.