Awk issues: system awk vs [ng]awk in ports

Vincent Lefevre vincent-opdarw at
Fri Mar 23 18:57:02 PDT 2007

On 2007-03-22 21:38:37 -0400, Randall Wood wrote:
> Many ports need to have bug reports submitted to upstream maintainers to 
> have non-POSIX [g|m|n]awk dependencies fixed. Since gawk behaves differently 
> than awk (and needs to be passed flags to prevent that different behavior), 
> we do not want to risk breaking a port whose upstream maintainers are aware 
> of and have worked around that issue.

If gawk doesn't behave in a way that is compatible with awk when
called as awk, then a bug should be reported to the gawk maintainers.

> The problem with gnome-doc-utils is that the upstream maintainers accidently 
> left some code in to force gawk to behave like awk when they shipped it, 
> knowing that on linux, awk = gawk[1]. This port's configure system correctly 
> detects for the presence of gawk, mawk, nawk, and awk (in that order).

So what?

Of course, if gnome-doc-utils calls awk while expecting gawk extensions,
that's a bug in gnome-doc-utils.

But it was said here that there should be a few dependencies with
the system as possible. That's why I think that there should be a
/opt/local/bin/awk (whether it comes from gawk or another port) or
gawk should be used instead.

Vincent Lefèvre <vincent at> - Web: <>
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Work: CR INRIA - computer arithmetic / Arenaire project (LIP, ENS-Lyon)

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