|my core utilities
||[Nov. 27th, 2016|12:30 pm]
I've listed some core utilities options besides GNU. I thought I'd share something about what utilities I personally prefer to use. My main requirement in a good set of core utilities is portability. This is rather hard to find. You would think that if a utility was efficient and lightweight, it would be easy to port. However, that's not necessarily so. Many utilities that are designed for efficiency take advantage of features of a particular operating system which makes them harder to port.
At first, I considered starting with sbase which had stated goals similar to what I was looking for, but it didn't have enough features to effectively replace the GNU core utilities when developing and building programs. While newer versions of sbase have added a lot of functionality, they've become much less portable.
My favorite source for inspiration is Minix. Earlier versions provided some interesting and fairly portable versions of a variety of utilites:
Some of the utilities don't have sufficient UTF-8 support or lack some newer functionality found in GNU utilities that makes them fail when attempting to build applications. However, they make a useful starting point.
In some cases, the OBase or BSD utilities do a better job than the older Minix ones and still do that job efficiently. I particularly like the version of patch found on BSD systems. It's an earlier variant of the Free Software Foundation's patch program. Unlike the FSF's version of patch which uses the GNU license, it uses a BSD style license.
For some utilities, I've consulted the POSIX standards ( http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/idx/utilities.html ) and rewritten them from scratch.
Rather than trying to port utilities such as the Free Software Foundations coreutils, I thought having a lightweight, efficient, highly portable option would be a useful alternative. Many of the FSF developers have little interest in portability making it hard to get later versions of their programs working on non-POSIX systems. I was surprised at how little interest most users have in developing portable alternatives to the core utilities that could be used to build software. Not only was their little interest, some people posted extremely negative comments when anyone suggested creating alternatives to the FSF software. I was also surprised by some of the negative reactions I read about wonderful projects like SBase.
I have a growing collection of public domain, BSD and MIT licensed alternatives to the GNU core utilities. For now, I just use them for my own projects. If you have an interest in portable utilities and tools, would like to see a viable portable alternative to the FSF's GNU coreutils or would like to further discuss related topics in a positive light, feel free to contact me. I'd enjoy talking with other developers and utility users on the topic.
You'll find some added information on my utilities and information on how to discuss the topic further at: