Re: [mu TECH] a 'printf' trick for scripts / a vindication of horrendous scripts

From: Alfie Costa (
Date: Sat Jul 08 2000 - 23:25:06 CEST

On 6 Jul 2000, at 21:46, Michele Andreoli <> wrote:

> AC: > I'm still tweaking 'rna' though...
> The orrendous script! I think not a good idea to amend this app a this
> stage, and I will try to explain you why that's my opinion: my plan,
> if I will gain more time, is to build a new kind of full-screen application,
> based on the CGI web interface. Shortly, a set of web form able to
> acts as mail-client, news-client, etc. There are a lot of Perl application
> around the world which do this kind of stuff.

It is true that 'rna' is a little complicated, and 'rna' has built-in limits.
But I do like it -- because it is small and fits on the boot floppy. I don't
know too much Perl, though it is a very famous language**, but the Perl
interpreter is relatively large, and won't fit on the one boot floppy will it?
I'm also thinking of my poor old 4 meg (or 2.8 meg) laptop here.

(**I have a Perl manual out from the library I keep not reading.)

However, I don't see why this doesn't mean we can't have both 'rna' as a rustic
demo for the first floppy, and a mighty mail program made out of Perl scripts
as an addon***. I see it like a kitchen, where you have your small frying pans
for a one or two egg omelet, and then you move up to great big skillets; or how
there's little paring knives, and then there's meat cleavers. Same idea, our
tools or utensils vary according to how big the job is. As the Perl guys
always say: "There's more than one way to do it."

(***I didn't really admire the TCL newsreader/MUA thing though. It had a fancy
interface, but it was very slow and too hard to use. Hopefully the Perl
scripts out there are better.)

Another benefit of 'rna' is as a rescue program. It sometimes happens that the
luckless user temporarily loses the use of their main system and hard disk.
Maybe they only need enough e-mail to ask one silly technical question, or
attend to some minor but pressing business. In such cases a full mu install
with Perl and so forth is a hardship for the troubled user; whereas if all they
need is on one little floppy, be it ever so humble, it makes them happy!

BTW, on extending mu, has anyone considered adding some sort of Forth
interpreter for mu? I was thinking if there a was a very small one, it might
fit on the boot disk, assuming space could somehow be made without losing
anything. Forth could be useful for doing low-level tricks that 'ash' isn't
good at. My problem is I don't know enough about the various flavors of Linux
Forth to say if this is practical or not.

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