Tugger the SLUGger!SLUG Mailing List Archives

Re: [SLUG] Wht the Old Junk in New *nix?


On Tue, Jul 11, 2000 at 11:04:11AM +1000, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> With recent discussions about termcaps, etc. I started thinking about the
> relative obscurity of all these configuration details...
> 
> Why do they still exist? How *practically* useful are they anymore?

Well, they're useful if you ever telnet into your computer from
one of those ancient terminals, somewhere.  After all, that's
what they're for.  That's not so unusual, either, since most
PC-based terminal programs emulate one of the old, established
terminal protocols (such as DEC's VT-102), rather than invent
their own.

> Is it a case of backwards/cross compatibility, and that no one has the urge
> or flameproof suit strong enough to come up with new specifications?

More a lack of need.  Sure: there's lots of new ways of doing
things.  HTML, Java, X11.  It's just that the old ways are
useful surprisingly often, and it doesn't really cost anything
to carry them around with us.

> I'm not debating the use of plain text files for configuration, merely the
> gumpf that's grown over certain areas, and shows little sign of being cut
> back.

So what's a dozen K of archaic termcap entries, in a 200M+ Unix
distribution?

People who care about such things, say for one-floppy router
installations, routinely throw out all of the stuff that isn't
absolutely necessary.  For everyone else, it's just easier to
have it all.

-- 
Andrew