Comment 12 for bug 215034

willdye (willdye) wrote :

Just in case anyone ever lobbies to disable /dev/tcp in Bash again, I want to add my support to leaving it enabled. Lots of languages have features which are dubious at best ("leading zero means octal", for example), but distributions tend to leave those features in place because the languages are already widely used.

Because of Ubuntu, some of my Bash scripts have already been (in effect) split into two versions -- one for older Ubuntu distributions, and one for Red Hat & everything else. Granted, this sort of split is all too common, and caused by far more than just /dev/tcp support. The point remains that anytime a distributor second-guesses a language implementation decision, it means that programs which have worked correctly for years on multiple systems will suddenly stop working on your distribution.

I agree that there are times when backward compatibility must give way to modern security, but breaking existing programs should be a method of last resort. Instead, we have an opinion that a long-standing language feature would have been better handled by an external program, and an accusation that improper usage of the feature can lead to "unexpected results". That is nowhere near a strong enough argument to merit breaking existing programs which work just fine on several other platforms.