Wandering Thoughts archives

2006-02-14

An advantage of using a non-standard shell

One of the surprising advantages of using a completely non-standard shell (in my case, Byron Rakitzis' Unix version of rc) is all of the things that are not automatically set up for you by modern systems. As someone I read found out recently, these days this includes colourized ls listings, colourized super-intelligent vi, and so on.

(I might not mind colourization so much if it paid any attention to what the baseline terminal colours were, but I haven't seen that happen yet. And it tends to come out as fruit salad even on the best of days.)

The other thing I tend to get to skip is all sorts of $LANG settings for internationalization. These are occasionally OK, but a lot of the time they annoy me by changing, for example, sort's output or the order ls puts files in. I'm a creature of sufficient Unix habit that I get perturbed if these shuffle. (And my scripts can get perturbed too. Yes, I should work out the magic to use the old fashioned collation and sorting order without drop-kicking the rest of the internationalization stuff. Someday. When I have to.)

Red Hat has a well developed (and heavily used) system for sticking standard shells with things, driven out of /etc/profile.d. Perusing the files in that directory can be interesting, and sometimes alarming. (Which leads to the discovery that the easy way to spay ls is to create an empty $HOME/.dircolors file.)

Fortunately Red Hat has stopped making /usr/bin/vi be vim; that caused me to have a vi symlink in $HOME/bin that pointed to the 'real' (non-fancy) /bin/vi (I put $HOME/bin before system directories precisely so I can fix this sort of thing). These days, the full vim experience has to be invoked as vim, and if you ask for vi (without aliases that redirect it to vim) you get the plain thing. (Unfortunately if you ask for ex you're out of luck; that they still override.)

sysadmin/NonstandardShellAdvantage written at 02:05:20; Add Comment


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