Re: [dev] environment variables versus runtime configuration (rc) files versus X resources

From: Greg Reagle <>
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2014 16:10:04 -0500

On Mon, Nov 3, 2014, at 03:21 PM, Dimitris Papastamos wrote:
> Another down-side is that different shells use different syntax for
> setting
> and unsetting environment variables, which can be a PITA if you want
> to share your configuration.

I am just speculating here, a though experiment, but that shouldn't be a
problem if a shell is chosen by convention (maybe Bourne shell). Using
mutt as an example just because I happen to use mutt, and it has way too
many runtime configuration variables to use the recompile config.h
approach. If the mutt developers chose to use Bourne shell syntax, then
all mutt users would be using the same syntax. So .muttrc would be
    export mutt_edit_headers=yes
    export mutt_mime_forward=ask-yes
and so on. And mutt could reduce its lines of code by relying on an
external tool.

But since I am speculating, I am probably overlooking some significant
issues. I don't know how much code could really be discarded. A few
serious problems have already been pointed out, such as lack of space in
the environment. But I've had fun thinking about throwing away all the
many many lines of codes duplicated across applications to control
run-time configuration. It will probably remain a fun thought and no

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Received on Mon Nov 03 2014 - 22:10:04 CET

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