Assigning privs to a program?

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Rich Teer

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Apr 29, 2005, 11:04:29 AM4/29/05
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Hi all,

Suppose I have a privilege-aware program running on Solaris 10.
How do I assign privileges to that program, on the command line
rather than the GUI as mentioned in the S10 Security Admin guide?

I get the impression that an SUID 0 program has "all privileges",
that can then be removed from the working set as desired, but if
possible I'd like my program to not be SUID 0 in the first place.

If it helps, the specific privilege I intend to use is PRIV_FILE_DAC_READ
(for reading /etc/shadow).

TIA,

--
Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA, OpenSolaris CAB member

President,
Rite Online Inc.

Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
URL: http://www.rite-group.com/rich

Dragan Cvetkovic

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Apr 29, 2005, 11:07:53 AM4/29/05
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Rich Teer <rich...@rite-group.com> writes:

> Hi all,
>
> Suppose I have a privilege-aware program running on Solaris 10.
> How do I assign privileges to that program, on the command line
> rather than the GUI as mentioned in the S10 Security Admin guide?
>
> I get the impression that an SUID 0 program has "all privileges",
> that can then be removed from the working set as desired, but if
> possible I'd like my program to not be SUID 0 in the first place.
>
> If it helps, the specific privilege I intend to use is PRIV_FILE_DAC_READ
> (for reading /etc/shadow).

ppriv?

--
Dragan Cvetkovic,

To be or not to be is true. G. Boole No it isn't. L. E. J. Brouwer

!!! Sender/From address is bogus. Use reply-to one !!!

Rich Teer

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Apr 29, 2005, 12:05:40 PM4/29/05
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On Fri, 29 Apr 2005, Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:

> ppriv?

That lets you assign privs to an already running process, or run
a program with specific privs. BUt instead of saying "ppriv foo"
to run foo with privs, I want to just say "foo", and have foo's
default privileges appear by magic. (Said privs having previously
been assigned by the sysadmin.)

This could be done with a secure version of UNIX I used years ago,
so I'm guessing that something similar can be accomplished with S10.

Coy Hile

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Apr 29, 2005, 12:25:15 PM4/29/05
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Rich Teer wrote:
> On Fri, 29 Apr 2005, Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:
>
>
>>ppriv?
>
>
> That lets you assign privs to an already running process, or run
> a program with specific privs. BUt instead of saying "ppriv foo"
> to run foo with privs, I want to just say "foo", and have foo's
> default privileges appear by magic. (Said privs having previously
> been assigned by the sysadmin.)
>
> This could be done with a secure version of UNIX I used years ago,
> so I'm guessing that something similar can be accomplished with S10.

Can't you just set the privs you want with a syscall in your program
or something like that? Or would that require that the program be
SUID 0 to work (which is what you're attempting to avoid)?

I need to go back and read the priveliges docs anyhow (and the
appropriate sections in SSP ;))

--
Coy Hile
hi...@cse.psu.edu

Message has been deleted

Rich Teer

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Apr 29, 2005, 1:54:41 PM4/29/05
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On Fri, 29 Apr 2005, Coy Hile wrote:

> Can't you just set the privs you want with a syscall in your program

You can, but only from the set that your program has been assigned
(the permitted set).

> or something like that? Or would that require that the program be
> SUID 0 to work (which is what you're attempting to avoid)?

Right. If I understand correctly, a UID 0 program starts will all
privs permitted, so yes, a program could assign itself a more restricted
set of privs. But I want to avoid the UID = 0 step if possible.

> I need to go back and read the priveliges docs anyhow (and the
> appropriate sections in SSP ;))

Not too much in SSP about privs, alas, because they're new with S10.
And if there was, I wouldn't need to ask here! :-)

Rich Teer

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Apr 29, 2005, 2:05:54 PM4/29/05
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On Fri, 29 Apr 2005, Stefan Jankowski wrote:

> Apparently, /usr/sadm/bin/smexec would seem to do the trick, but it
> requires the SMC backend to run and will prompt you for the password
> for the user or role you specified with -r or -u, respectively :(

Hmm. Not useful for my situation then, alas...

> I know of no way to assign a defined set of privileges directly to an
> executable, analogous to the suid-bit (which does not neccesary mean
> there is none, see the disclaimer above).

Bummer, because that's exactly what I want to do. I want this program
to always start running with basic + file_dac+read as its permitted
privilege set, no matter who (or what role) executes it, and without
the end user having to do anything they wouldn't have to do for a SUID 0
program. Is there no way to do this? Casper?

Thomas Dickey

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Apr 29, 2005, 2:17:06 PM4/29/05
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Rich Teer <rich...@rite-group.com> wrote:
> Not too much in SSP about privs, alas, because they're new with S10.
> And if there was, I wouldn't need to ask here! :-)

you mean that you would have copied/adapted the appropriate manpage.

droll. other people know how to run "man" on their computer.

--
Thomas E. Dickey
http://invisible-island.net
ftp://invisible-island.net

Bruno Bonfils

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May 2, 2005, 5:44:41 AM5/2/05
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Rich Teer <rich...@rite-group.com> writes:

> Hi all,
>


> How do I assign privileges to that program, on the command line

Create a role (~user) dedicated to this program, like :

roleadd -d /home/<program> -s /usr/bin/bash ... <role>
rolemod -K "defaultpriv=basic,file_dac_read" <role>

su - <role>

ppriv -l $$

and you should now see basic privs more file_dac_read

See:
http://www.asyd.net/home/doku.php?id=docs:solaris:rbac

i'm not sure that is you really want, if no, shame on me

--
\_o< asyd

Tim Bradshaw

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May 2, 2005, 1:38:43 PM5/2/05
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* Thomas Dickey wrote:

> you mean that you would have copied/adapted the appropriate manpage.

I guess it hasn't occurred to you that making a decent book by reading
and interpreting manual pages & other reference info is actually quite
hard work, and something which a lot of people find very useful. You
should try it some time.

--tim

Thomas Dickey

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May 3, 2005, 7:26:19 PM5/3/05
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hmm - I know something about it.
But since you're making an offensive remark, it's up to you to back it up.

Here's some fuel:
http://invisible-island.net/critique/APUE-SSP.html

Jim Haig

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May 5, 2005, 4:17:55 PM5/5/05
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Thomas Dickey wrote:
> Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com> wrote:
> > * Thomas Dickey wrote:
>
> >> you mean that you would have copied/adapted the appropriate
manpage.
>
> > I guess it hasn't occurred to you that making a decent book by
reading
> > and interpreting manual pages & other reference info is actually
quite
> > hard work, and something which a lot of people find very useful.
You
> > should try it some time.
>
> hmm - I know something about it.
> But since you're making an offensive remark, it's up to you to back
it up.
>
> Here's some fuel:
> http://invisible-island.net/critique/APUE-SSP.html

That's a rather serious allegation. Have you informed the author of the
existence of this page? Did he say something to it?

-- jpg

Rich Teer

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May 5, 2005, 7:19:04 PM5/5/05
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On Thu, 5 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:

> That's a rather serious allegation. Have you informed the author of the
> existence of this page? Did he say something to it?

For the record, I (being said author) refute any and all claims of
plagiarism. Yes, there are some similarities between my book and
APUE. As I've said in the past, they are intentional, imitation
being the sincerest form of flattery. But there are also MANY
differences (my book is almost twice the size of APUE, so there'd
have to be!).

My publisher is aware of Dickey's allegations, and has investigated
the matter. As far as they are concerned, it is a non-issue; and
my book is published by the same company as APUE. So as far as the
copyright holders are concerned, there is no plagiarism; and that's
good enough for me.

Naturally, I reserve the right to persue any legal action I chose
against Dickey, for his slanderous/libellous allegations, and his
tarnishing of my good name and reputation, and any loss of earnings
due to that. So does my publisher...

I guess he's (Dickey) just some Net Kook he enjoys stiring the brown
stuff. Personally, I ignore him.

Thomas Dickey

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May 6, 2005, 5:32:38 AM5/6/05
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In comp.unix.solaris Jim Haig <jph...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> That's a rather serious allegation. Have you informed the author of the
> existence of this page? Did he say something to it?

certainly. He continues to deny it. I informed the publisher also.
My understanding is that they're doing something about (but of course
I don't know what - not my business).

Gunnar Ritter

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May 6, 2005, 9:12:51 AM5/6/05
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Rich Teer wrote:

> For the record, I (being said author) refute any and all claims of
> plagiarism. Yes, there are some similarities between my book and
> APUE. As I've said in the past, they are intentional, imitation
> being the sincerest form of flattery. But there are also MANY
> differences (my book is almost twice the size of APUE, so there'd
> have to be!).

APUE is not the only material to which passages of your book have
a similarity on a word-by-word or sentence-by-sentence level. Here
is an example involving a Solaris manual page:

| Note that the alloca function is very machine-, compiler-, and
| system dependent; its use is strongly discouraged. [your book,
| page 99]

vs.

| The alloca() function is machine-, compiler-, and most of all,
| system-dependent. Its use is strongly discouraged. [Solaris 8
| malloc(3C)]

The origin of this passage can be traced back to SunOS 4 at least.
How does it come that your book contains the same three adjectives
in the same order as well as the same second clause in its entirety?

> My publisher is aware of Dickey's allegations, and has investigated
> the matter. As far as they are concerned, it is a non-issue; and
> my book is published by the same company as APUE. So as far as the
> copyright holders are concerned, there is no plagiarism; and that's
> good enough for me.

Is this to mean that you deny the relevance of ethic standards in this
area?

> Naturally, I reserve the right to persue any legal action I chose
> against Dickey, for his slanderous/libellous allegations, and his
> tarnishing of my good name and reputation, and any loss of earnings
> due to that. So does my publisher...

You really consider to discuss the material from
<http://invisible-island.net/critique/APUE-SSP.html> in court?

> I guess he's (Dickey) just some Net Kook he enjoys stiring the brown
> stuff. Personally, I ignore him.

Perhaps you should make a habit of doing a Google web search for the
names of persons before guessing about them. Thomas has provided
excellent services to the Unix community for over a decade with his
maintenance and development of xterm, ncurses, etc. There is hardly
anybody in these groups who has never used the Open Source software
Thomas has donated to the community; many do so daily, and many do so
just in the very moment they are reading these lines.

In this case, he has compiled enough material to fill a large web
page. You will not defeat that by guesses ad hominem.

Gunnar

Jim Haig

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May 6, 2005, 10:03:50 AM5/6/05
to
Rich Teer wrote:
> On Thu, 5 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:
>
> > That's a rather serious allegation. Have you informed the author of
the
> > existence of this page? Did he say something to it?
>
> For the record, I (being said author) refute any and all claims of
> plagiarism. Yes, there are some similarities between my book and
> APUE. As I've said in the past, they are intentional, imitation
> being the sincerest form of flattery. But there are also MANY
> differences (my book is almost twice the size of APUE, so there'd
> have to be!).
>
> My publisher is aware of Dickey's allegations, and has investigated
> the matter. As far as they are concerned, it is a non-issue; and
> my book is published by the same company as APUE. So as far as the
> copyright holders are concerned, there is no plagiarism; and that's
> good enough for me.

The web page seems to be alleging that unauthorized borrowing occurred.
Do you mean that no borrowing occurred (ie that the author of the page
is mistaken), or that borrowing did occur but was authorized by the
publisher of Stevens' book?

-- jpg

Thomas Dickey

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May 6, 2005, 10:16:41 AM5/6/05
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In comp.unix.solaris Jim Haig <jph...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> The web page seems to be alleging that unauthorized borrowing occurred.
> Do you mean that no borrowing occurred (ie that the author of the page
> is mistaken), or that borrowing did occur but was authorized by the
> publisher of Stevens' book?

Since Teer denies _any_ borrowing, my belief is that it is unauthorized.

Jim Haig

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May 6, 2005, 10:36:27 AM5/6/05
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Thomas Dickey wrote:
> In comp.unix.solaris Jim Haig <jph...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > The web page seems to be alleging that unauthorized borrowing
occurred.
> > Do you mean that no borrowing occurred (ie that the author of the
page
> > is mistaken), or that borrowing did occur but was authorized by the
> > publisher of Stevens' book?
>
> Since Teer denies _any_ borrowing, my belief is that it is
unauthorized.

Your opinion seems clear from the web page. But please, I would
rather have the author answer the question.

-- jpg

Rich Teer

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May 6, 2005, 10:43:41 AM5/6/05
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On Fri, 6 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:

> The web page seems to be alleging that unauthorized borrowing occurred.
> Do you mean that no borrowing occurred (ie that the author of the page
> is mistaken), or that borrowing did occur but was authorized by the
> publisher of Stevens' book?

I wouldn't word it quite that way, but the latter is closer to the truth.
As I said before, any similarity between my book and APUE is intentional,
and has my publisher's blessings. My publisher is (essentially) the same
as the publisher of APUE.

But it is NOT accurate to say that I copied APUE wholesale. SSP took me
3.5 years to write, 3 of which I was otherwise unemployed for (I gave up
my job to work on SSP full time), so naturally I take exception to people's
scurrilous accusations.

As we say in England: 'nuff said.

Jim Haig

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May 6, 2005, 10:54:13 AM5/6/05
to
Rich Teer wrote:
> On Fri, 6 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:
>
> > The web page seems to be alleging that unauthorized borrowing
occurred.
> > Do you mean that no borrowing occurred (ie that the author of the
page
> > is mistaken), or that borrowing did occur but was authorized by the
> > publisher of Stevens' book?
>
> I wouldn't word it quite that way, but the latter is closer to the
> truth.

So you mean there is borrowing (that Thomas Dickey is right)?
You said "I wouldn't word it quite that way". There must be
some thing I'm missing: how would you word it?

-- jpg

Dragan Cvetkovic

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May 6, 2005, 11:10:05 AM5/6/05
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"Jim Haig" <jph...@yahoo.com> writes:

Well, I am sure there is some borrowing. After all, we all use (more or
less) common language and avoiding _all_ words and phrases occuring in
Stevens' book just for the sake of it would be ridiculous. Then you'll need
to invent a new language, as Tolkien did with his (two variants) of Elvish
and dwarf languages in "The Lord of the Rings".

However, if you are in the UNIX community for quite some time and you keep
using the same terminology, you are bound to have certain phrases,
expressions and words associated with them. E.g. how many different ways
can you find to describe (for me unfortunatelly rather boring) termcap
and/or term functionality?

Most probably, both Teer and Stevens draw their inspiration (or did so)
from the same source which I would also call a "UNIX folklore".

And no, my reply has nothing to do with me being one of Teer's
reviewers. It's just a common sense.

Bye, Dragan

Jim Haig

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May 6, 2005, 11:15:21 AM5/6/05
to
Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:
> "Jim Haig" <jph...@yahoo.com> writes:
>
> > Rich Teer wrote:
> >> On Fri, 6 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:
> >>
> >> > The web page seems to be alleging that unauthorized borrowing
> >> > occurred.
>
> >> > Do you mean that no borrowing occurred (ie that the author of
the page
> >> > is mistaken), or that borrowing did occur but was authorized by
the
> >> > publisher of Stevens' book?
> >>
> >> I wouldn't word it quite that way, but the latter is closer to the
> >> truth.
> >
> > So you mean there is borrowing (that Thomas Dickey is right)?
> > You said "I wouldn't word it quite that way". There must be
> > some thing I'm missing: how would you word it?
>
> Well, I am sure there is some borrowing. After all, we all use (more
or
[cut]

> And no, my reply has nothing to do with me being one of Teer's
> reviewers. It's just a common sense.

Please (had to say this to Thomas Dickey too!) -- I think
it's better not to have other people answering for the
author. I was asking him to describe how he sees things.

-- jpg

Dragan Cvetkovic

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May 6, 2005, 11:17:57 AM5/6/05
to
"Jim Haig" <jph...@yahoo.com> writes:

>
> Please (had to say this to Thomas Dickey too!) -- I think
> it's better not to have other people answering for the
> author. I was asking him to describe how he sees things.

Then don't ask that in a public forum. Send an email to Rich and, if you
want to put his answer here, ask his permission to do so. Simply enough.

Thomas Dickey

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May 6, 2005, 11:19:26 AM5/6/05
to
In comp.unix.solaris Dragan Cvetkovic <m...@privacy.net> wrote:

> However, if you are in the UNIX community for quite some time and you keep
> using the same terminology, you are bound to have certain phrases,
> expressions and words associated with them. E.g. how many different ways
> can you find to describe (for me unfortunatelly rather boring) termcap
> and/or term functionality?

Apparently more than just one plus an obvious paraphrase.

> Most probably, both Teer and Stevens draw their inspiration (or did so)
> from the same source which I would also call a "UNIX folklore".

indeed: the millions of books about termcap/terminfo, and just this matches.

> And no, my reply has nothing to do with me being one of Teer's
> reviewers. It's just a common sense.

no, nothing at all...

Thomas Dickey

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May 6, 2005, 11:24:23 AM5/6/05
to
In comp.unix.programmer Dragan Cvetkovic <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
> "Jim Haig" <jph...@yahoo.com> writes:

>>
>> Please (had to say this to Thomas Dickey too!) -- I think
>> it's better not to have other people answering for the
>> author. I was asking him to describe how he sees things.

> Then don't ask that in a public forum. Send an email to Rich and, if you
> want to put his answer here, ask his permission to do so. Simply enough.

If he would give a different answer privately, it's not worth repeating.

Joerg Schilling

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May 6, 2005, 11:29:50 AM5/6/05
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In article <1115385171.4...@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
Gunnar Ritter <Gunnar...@pluto.uni-freiburg.de> wrote:

>You really consider to discuss the material from
><http://invisible-island.net/critique/APUE-SSP.html> in court?
>
>> I guess he's (Dickey) just some Net Kook he enjoys stiring the brown
>> stuff. Personally, I ignore him.
>
>Perhaps you should make a habit of doing a Google web search for the
>names of persons before guessing about them. Thomas has provided
>excellent services to the Unix community for over a decade with his
>maintenance and development of xterm, ncurses, etc. There is hardly
>anybody in these groups who has never used the Open Source software
>Thomas has donated to the community; many do so daily, and many do so
>just in the very moment they are reading these lines.

If you did read this newsgroup during the past years, you should know that
Mr. Dickey did not appear her before ~ 2003 and that he did in many cases
act like a net cook being unwilling to have fact based discussions.

Mr. Dickey in many cases acts extremely aggressive to other people and
rarely sends real information besides something like "you are wrong".

He did write once an informative posting about the problems with
broken xterm entries found on Linux but he denies provable problems with
TERMINFO and often acts like a wounded animal when anything appers here that
could be brought into a relationship to curses.

If I had to judge on him only from his statements in c.u.s, I would need
to call him a poor troll.

>In this case, he has compiled enough material to fill a large web
>page. You will not defeat that by guesses ad hominem.

Looking at this web page gives a different light on Mr. Dickey.
It seems that (besides from his appearance in c.u.c) he is able to
do serious work.

Discussing the content if this web page however is not simple:

If the publisher on Rich's book has all rights on Stevens book too
and Rich is not going to publish his book though different channels
I see no problems. What needs to be discussed too, is how much of the
book similar to Stevens book.

If the web page lists _all_ similarities of a 1000 page book, I see no problems.


BTW: Let me discuss a point from the web page. The text on sigset() is not very
convincing as it does not mention how possible problems should occur and
sigset() of course does set SA_RESTART. If you did read the discussion of the
SIGCHLD problem on the POSIX mailing list, you should know that Solaris
may be the only OS where this is handled correctly.


--
EMail:jo...@schily.isdn.cs.tu-berlin.de (home) Jörg Schilling D-13353 Berlin
j...@cs.tu-berlin.de (uni)
schi...@fokus.fraunhofer.de (work) Blog: http://schily.blogspot.com/
URL: http://cdrecord.berlios.de/old/private/ ftp://ftp.berlios.de/pub/schily

Dragan Cvetkovic

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May 6, 2005, 11:31:12 AM5/6/05
to
Thomas Dickey <dic...@saltmine.radix.net> writes:

> In comp.unix.solaris Dragan Cvetkovic <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
>
>> However, if you are in the UNIX community for quite some time and you keep
>> using the same terminology, you are bound to have certain phrases,
>> expressions and words associated with them. E.g. how many different ways
>> can you find to describe (for me unfortunatelly rather boring) termcap
>> and/or term functionality?
>
> Apparently more than just one plus an obvious paraphrase.

Let us be more constructive: Can you give an example how would _you_
formulate this terminfo vs. termcap issue that you are mentioning as a
first example in http://invisible-island.net/critique/APUE-SSP.html

As I said, I find termcap/terminfo stuff rather boring in general (I am
sure I am not the only one), so let us all benefit from it.

>> Most probably, both Teer and Stevens draw their inspiration (or did so)
>> from the same source which I would also call a "UNIX folklore".
>
> indeed: the millions of books about termcap/terminfo, and just this matches.

Care to mention some? Except these two in dispute, I only know about
"termcap & terminfo" by John Strang, Linda Mui and Tim O'Reilly, last
published in 1988 (by O'Reilly), but as I said, I am not too deep into the
topic.

Jim Haig

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May 6, 2005, 11:32:09 AM5/6/05
to
Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:
> "Jim Haig" <jph...@yahoo.com> writes:
>
> >
> > Please (had to say this to Thomas Dickey too!) -- I think
> > it's better not to have other people answering for the
> > author. I was asking him to describe how he sees things.
>
> Then don't ask that in a public forum. Send an email to Rich and, if
you
> want to put his answer here, ask his permission to do so. Simply
enough.

A book by definition is a public thing, and this topic came up
in a public channel (I didn't start it). The author also wrote
something in this thread, so he appears willing to discuss /
clarify the matter. I was asking him to clarify his public
statement. I see no problem with doing that in public. So I'll
just ask it again: how would the author describe the situation
with respect to any borrowing from Stevens' book?

-- jpg

Dragan Cvetkovic

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May 6, 2005, 11:36:48 AM5/6/05
to
"Jim Haig" <jph...@yahoo.com> writes:

> Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:
>> "Jim Haig" <jph...@yahoo.com> writes:
>> >
>> > Please (had to say this to Thomas Dickey too!) -- I think
>> > it's better not to have other people answering for the
>> > author. I was asking him to describe how he sees things.
>>
>> Then don't ask that in a public forum. Send an email to Rich and, if you
>> want to put his answer here, ask his permission to do so. Simply enough.
>
> A book by definition is a public thing, and this topic came up
> in a public channel (I didn't start it). The author also wrote
> something in this thread, so he appears willing to discuss /
> clarify the matter. I was asking him to clarify his public
> statement. I see no problem with doing that in public.

Jim, I have no problems with that. I am just saying that you can't expect
others to refrain from discussing something in a public forum. If you wan't
just a two-way communication (between you and Rich), then use a peer to
peer communication method: email.

Jim Haig

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May 6, 2005, 11:46:55 AM5/6/05
to
Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:
> "Jim Haig" <jph...@yahoo.com> writes:
>
> > Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:
> >> "Jim Haig" <jph...@yahoo.com> writes:
> >> >
> >> > Please (had to say this to Thomas Dickey too!) -- I think
> >> > it's better not to have other people answering for the
> >> > author. I was asking him to describe how he sees things.
> >>
> >> Then don't ask that in a public forum. Send an email to Rich and,
if you
> >> want to put his answer here, ask his permission to do so. Simply
enough.
> >
> > A book by definition is a public thing, and this topic came up
> > in a public channel (I didn't start it). The author also wrote
> > something in this thread, so he appears willing to discuss /
> > clarify the matter. I was asking him to clarify his public
> > statement. I see no problem with doing that in public.
>
> Jim, I have no problems with that. I am just saying that you can't
expect
> others to refrain from discussing something in a public forum. If you
wan't
> just a two-way communication (between you and Rich), then use a peer
to
> peer communication method: email.

There already exists a public discussion about this topic,
and private communication will not make that discussion stop. The
author is the best person here to clarify things, and he has shown
his willingness to discuss things in public. If he made a clear
statement of his position, maybe the public discussion would stop.

-- jpg

Thomas Dickey

unread,
May 6, 2005, 11:48:29 AM5/6/05
to
In comp.unix.programmer Dragan Cvetkovic <m...@privacy.net> wrote:

>>> Most probably, both Teer and Stevens draw their inspiration (or did so)
>>> from the same source which I would also call a "UNIX folklore".
>>
>> indeed: the millions of books about termcap/terminfo, and just this matches.

> Care to mention some? Except these two in dispute, I only know about
> "termcap & terminfo" by John Strang, Linda Mui and Tim O'Reilly, last
> published in 1988 (by O'Reilly), but as I said, I am not too deep into the
> topic.

Your comment about "UNIX folklore" relies upon the assumptiont that there
are many people all saying the same thing. That's absurd of course (I
assume you meant your whole response sarcastically, since it cannot be
taken seriously).

Thomas Dickey

unread,
May 6, 2005, 11:51:14 AM5/6/05
to
In comp.unix.programmer Joerg Schilling <j...@cs.tu-berlin.de> wrote:
> If you did read this newsgroup during the past years, you should know that
> Mr. Dickey did not appear her before ~ 2003 and that he did in many cases
> act like a net cook being unwilling to have fact based discussions.

http://groups-beta.google.com/groups?safe=images&as_ugroup=comp.unix.solaris&as_uauthors=dic...@clark.net&as_scoring=d&lr=&num=100&hl=en

(the rest of Schilling's remarks are as usual, ill-informed).

Rich Teer

unread,
May 6, 2005, 11:53:37 AM5/6/05
to
On Fri, 6 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:

> You said "I wouldn't word it quite that way". There must be
> some thing I'm missing: how would you word it?

I admire Rich Stevens, and find his writing style very readable.
I therefore attempted to emulate his style in my book. Given that,
and that we talk about the same things, and we (presumably) had access
to at least some common reference material, some similarities are
more or less inevitable.

So, borrowing? Perhaps; inspiration? Definately (hence the bit
on the back cover about APUE).

Dragan Cvetkovic

unread,
May 6, 2005, 11:56:38 AM5/6/05
to
Thomas Dickey <dic...@saltmine.radix.net> writes:

The part where I asked you to formulate your view of terminfo/termcap
(which you have snipped) was not meant sarcastically. It was meant to bring
this discussion to a more constructive level which would benefit all of us.

Chuck Dillon

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:05:31 PM5/6/05
to
Gunnar Ritter wrote:
> Rich Teer wrote:
>
>
>>For the record, I (being said author) refute any and all claims of
>>plagiarism. Yes, there are some similarities between my book and
>>APUE. As I've said in the past, they are intentional, imitation
>>being the sincerest form of flattery. But there are also MANY
>>differences (my book is almost twice the size of APUE, so there'd
>>have to be!).
>
>
> APUE is not the only material to which passages of your book have
> a similarity on a word-by-word or sentence-by-sentence level. Here
> is an example involving a Solaris manual page:
>
> | Note that the alloca function is very machine-, compiler-, and
> | system dependent; its use is strongly discouraged. [your book,
> | page 99]
>
> vs.
>
> | The alloca() function is machine-, compiler-, and most of all,
> | system-dependent. Its use is strongly discouraged. [Solaris 8
> | malloc(3C)]
>
> The origin of this passage can be traced back to SunOS 4 at least.
> How does it come that your book contains the same three adjectives
> in the same order as well as the same second clause in its entirety?

I don't have a dog in this fight but I have to comment that examples
like the above, and the other comparisons I see on Thomas' site, are
weak IMHO. All of the examples on Thomas' webpage are about
descriptions of simple concepts like the statement above. There are
only so many ways you can state a straightforward concept in a
straightforward way. Especially when you need to limit yourself to
contextual terminology to be clear.

I admit the similarity of the figures shown on Thomas' site are
striking but if you think about it how could they not be strikingly
similar? There is no art there. The topology of the first two is
dictated by the topology of the structures they describe. By
definition they must be topologically identical to be accurate so any
adjustment of the components would create only superficial differences
that you would still question. As for the 3rd table, how could they
appear significantly different and still be accurate? If I write a
book with a table of the U.S. States and their respective Capitals
would you be plagiarizing if you had a table with the same content?
Any change you make will be superficial. Unless you're suggesting it's
plagiarism to use a table at all.

How would Stevens fare if you applied the same standard when comparing
his text to the reference materials and writings on the same simple
concepts that predate his book?

Clearly, and logically, Mr. Teer wanted to capitalize on the popularity
of APUE. It only makes sense for him to try and mimic it's proven
success. His preface (from his site) includes experienced UNIX
programmer's in his audience. It only makes sense for him to try and
make his book seem familiar to that audience. Stevens' chapter names
read like an index and are logically ordered. It would be difficult to
parallel it without ending up with something that looked a lot like it.

I tend to agree that Mr. Teer should have given Stevens more respect
and credit. I suspect Mr. Teer regrets not doing so at this point. And
I can understand how those who knew and/or respected W. Richard Stevens
as the icon he was in our field might be angry about the seeming lack
of respect. But I don't buy the plagiarism argument.

-- ced


--
Chuck Dillon
Senior Software Engineer
NimbleGen Systems Inc.

Joerg Schilling

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:08:08 PM5/6/05
to
In article <117n4ji...@corp.supernews.com>,
Thomas Dickey <dic...@saltmine.radix.net> wrote:


>(the rest of Schilling's remarks are as usual, ill-informed).

If you have nothing to say, please stay quiet but do not act as
a net cook.

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:12:52 PM5/6/05
to
Joerg Schilling wrote:

> If you did read this newsgroup during the past years,

Well, I did read some discussions between him and you. This made me
see that you both have developed a personal hostility.

> BTW: Let me discuss a point from the web page. The text on sigset()
is not very
> convincing as it does not mention how possible problems should occur
and sigset() of course does set SA_RESTART.

Wrong. Compile this

#include <unistd.h>
#include <signal.h>

static void handler(int sig) {}

int main(void)
{
char buf[10];
int pd[2];

sigset/*bsd_signal*/(SIGALRM, handler);
alarm(1);
pipe(pd);
read(pd[0], buf, sizeof buf);
write(1, "here\n", 5);
return 0;
}


with sigset() and see it print "here" and terminate; compile it with
bsd_signal() and see it hang (on Solaris 10 and elsewhere).

> If you did read the discussion of the
> SIGCHLD problem on the POSIX mailing list, you should know that
Solaris
> may be the only OS where this is handled correctly.

What has this to do with restarting system calls?

Gunnar

Thomas Dickey

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:13:10 PM5/6/05
to
In comp.unix.programmer Dragan Cvetkovic <m...@privacy.net> wrote:

> The part where I asked you to formulate your view of terminfo/termcap
> (which you have snipped) was not meant sarcastically. It was meant to bring
> this discussion to a more constructive level which would benefit all of us.

to digress - this is not part of the thread -

I'd probably go into more of the technical details of how the capability names
are referenced, pointing out that the filesystem mapping is not how all of the
current implementations work. Strang is fine, but does not address the nicer
stuff such as line-drawing or colors.

Thomas Dickey

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:17:30 PM5/6/05
to
In comp.unix.programmer Chuck Dillon <sp...@nimblegen.com> wrote:
> that you would still question. As for the 3rd table, how could they
> appear significantly different and still be accurate? If I write a

certainly they could - the coincidence I note is that the ordering
of columns (titles) matches a lot. But then that's not coincidence.

There's a saying that you've probably heard:

once is bad luck
twice is coincidence
three times is enemy action.

When there are so many matches, it's obvious that there's a relationship.

(I don't buy into the notion that both Stevens and Teer copied from a third
source ;-)

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:17:49 PM5/6/05
to
Chuck Dillon wrote:

> I don't have a dog in this fight but I have to comment that examples
> like the above, and the other comparisons I see on Thomas' site, are
> weak IMHO. All of the examples on Thomas' webpage are about
> descriptions of simple concepts like the statement above. There are
> only so many ways you can state a straightforward concept in a
> straightforward way.

Like all similar claims this is easily refuted by the existence of
fully independent texts on the same topic.

> How would Stevens fare if you applied the same standard when
comparing
> his text to the reference materials and writings on the same simple
> concepts that predate his book?

Very well. The text on alloca() is a small but good example again.

Gunnar

Jim Haig

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:18:25 PM5/6/05
to
Rich Teer wrote:
> On Fri, 6 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:
>
> > You said "I wouldn't word it quite that way". There must be
> > some thing I'm missing: how would you word it?
>
> I admire Rich Stevens, and find his writing style very readable.
> I therefore attempted to emulate his style in my book.

Thanks for replying in among all this noise!

So you are saying that there is only stylistic similarity,
no (or not more than chance degree of) similarity of
wording or pictures (ie Thomas Dickey is wrong).

Earlier you seemed to be saying that my paraphrasing
"there was borrowing [of content] and the publisher
authorized it" was approximately correct. I say
"approximately" because you said that's "closer to the
truth".

But these two statements don't seem consistent. Which
is right?

-- jph

Alan Balmer

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:21:05 PM5/6/05
to
On 6 May 2005 06:12:51 -0700, "Gunnar Ritter"
<Gunnar...@pluto.uni-freiburg.de> wrote:

>| Note that the alloca function is very machine-, compiler-, and
>| system dependent; its use is strongly discouraged. [your book,
>| page 99]
>
>vs.
>
>| The alloca() function is machine-, compiler-, and most of all,
>| system-dependent. Its use is strongly discouraged. [Solaris 8
>| malloc(3C)]
>
>The origin of this passage can be traced back to SunOS 4 at least.
>How does it come that your book contains the same three adjectives
>in the same order as well as the same second clause in its entirety?
>

Oh, good grief. I might have written the same thing, with the
adjectives in the same order, and I've never seen either book! Let's
not be ridiculous.

As for the second clause, I have seen and written those exact five
words hundreds of times.

Next, you'll be saying he plagiarized from the dictionary.

--
Al Balmer
Balmer Consulting
removebalmerc...@att.net

Joerg Schilling

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:36:24 PM5/6/05
to
In article <lm3bt04...@privacy.net>,
Dragan Cvetkovic <draga...@gmx.net> wrote:

>Let us be more constructive: Can you give an example how would _you_
>formulate this terminfo vs. termcap issue that you are mentioning as a
>first example in http://invisible-island.net/critique/APUE-SSP.html
>
>As I said, I find termcap/terminfo stuff rather boring in general (I am
>sure I am not the only one), so let us all benefit from it.

The problem with _both_ texts compared on the web page is that they are mostly
incorrect.

It is correct that curses has been extracted from vi by Mark Horton.

I did net yet see any real proof that terminfo should be better than termcap.

A _real_ Termcap/terminfo comparision could look like this:

- Terminfo has been optimized to work around the deficites of the
old UNIX v 7 filesystem that was still in use around 1992/1994
when terminfo has been created. The directory structure used by terminfo
has no real advantage on the flat file approach used ba termcap.

Good admins did always move frequently used entries to te top.

Termcap allows to store the parsed entry in the environment TERMCAP.
Terminfo does not support this and for this reason is even slower
in most cases.

A decent shell (like my bsh does since 1984) reads the termcap file
and puts the preparsed entry into the TERMCAP environment at
login time like:

TERMCAP=x1|xterm|vs100|xterm terminal emulator (X Window System):li#24:co#80:AL=\E[%dL:DC=\E[%dP:DL=\E[%dM:DO=\E[%dB:IC=\E[%d@:UP=\E[%dA:al=\E[L:am:bs:cd=\E[J:ce=\E[K:cl=\E[H\E[2J:cm=\E[%i%d;%dH:cs=\E[%i%d;%dr:ct=\E[3k:dc=\E[P:dl=\E[M:im=\E[4h:ei=\E[4l:mi:ho=\E[H:is=\E[r\E[m\E[2J\E[H\E[?7h\E[?1;3;4;6l\E[4l:rs=\E[r\E[m\E[2J\E[H\E[?7h\E[?1;3;4;6l\E[4l\E<:k1=\EOP:k2=\EOQ:k3=\EOR:k4=\EOS:kb=^H:kd=\EOB:ke=\E[?1l\E>:kl=\EOD:km:kn#4:kr=\EOC:ks=\E[?1h\E=:ku=\EOA:md=\E[1m:me=\E[m:mr=\E[7m:ms:nd=\E[C:pt:sc=\E7:rc=\
E8:sf=\n:so=\E[7m:se=\E[m:sr=\EM:te=\E[2J\E[?47l\E8:ti=\E7\E[?47h:up=\E[A:us=\E[4m:ue=\E[m:xn:

So /etc/termcap is read only once.

- Termcap (see my portable libxtermcap) supports TERMPATH=
to overlay /etc/termcap by e.g. ~/.termcap to speed up
or to work around deficites of the entries in /etc/termcap

- Modern termcap implementations (see my portable libxtermcap)
support entries of arbitrary size and support multiple tc=
entries.

- Termcap used two character names but Terminfo is not really better

- The only Terminfo capabiltiies that have no termcap equivalents are:

Defined by SVr4 but not used:

"sgr1" "set_a_attributes", "Define second set of
attributes #1-#6"

Mapped to the same Termcap name "ML":

"smgl", "set_left_margin", "set left soft margin"

"smglr", "set_lr_margin", "Set both left and
right margins to #1, #2"


Mapped to the same Termcap name "ma":

"ma", "max_attributes", "maximum combined
attributes terminal can handle"

"ma", "arrow_key_map", "map arrow keys
rogue(1) motion keys"

The second ("arrow_key_map") is obsolete.


BTW: I did write a termcap -> termcap compiler that reads a termcap file
and outputs the capabilities in a standard way to allow comparison.

Rich Teer

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:58:21 PM5/6/05
to
On Fri, 6 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:

> Thanks for replying in among all this noise!

My pleasure; I have no problem engaging in respectful, well-intentioned
conversation. But I have neither the time nor the inclination to
engage in a pissing match with those who are intent on disparaging
me for whatever reasons they have.

I don't recall insulting Dickey in the past, so I have no idea why he
seems to be personally attacking me. Given that he seems to be a
vocal Linux supporter (but not, I hasten to add, nearly as bad as some
of them!), maybe the fact that my book focusses on Solaris is what he
has a problem with. If I'd written "Linux Systems Programming", with
similar content and style, I wonder how noisily he would complain?
(A rhetorical question, of course.)

> So you are saying that there is only stylistic similarity,
> no (or not more than chance degree of) similarity of
> wording or pictures (ie Thomas Dickey is wrong).

Mostly the former, but a bit of both. The fairest way I can think
of putting it is that Dickey is blowing any similarities out of
proportion. In other words, I wouldn't say he is completely wrong,
but I would also say that he isn't completely right.

> But these two statements don't seem consistent. Which
> is right?

Dickey seems to use the term "borrow" as a euphamism for plagiarism,
hence my careful use of (wishing to avoid) the former term.

Joerg Schilling

unread,
May 6, 2005, 12:55:39 PM5/6/05
to
In article <1115395972....@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com> you write:
>Joerg Schilling wrote:
>
>> If you did read this newsgroup during the past years,
>
>Well, I did read some discussions between him and you. This made me
>see that you both have developed a personal hostility.
>
>> BTW: Let me discuss a point from the web page. The text on sigset()
>is not very
>> convincing as it does not mention how possible problems should occur
>and sigset() of course does set SA_RESTART.
>
>Wrong. Compile this

OK, I did not read the source well enough. SA_REATART is only set for
SIGSTOP SIGTSTP SIGTTOU SIGTTIN


However, simple programs may use sigset in case they loop on e.g.
read() == EINTR and reestablish the handler inside the handler
as sigset defiinitely adds the signal to the signal mask so the
same signal may not be catched while a signal handler is active.

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 6, 2005, 1:27:16 PM5/6/05
to
Alan Balmer wrote:

> >| Note that the alloca function is very machine-, compiler-, and
> >| system dependent; its use is strongly discouraged. [your book,
> >| page 99]

> Oh, good grief. I might have written the same thing, with the
> adjectives in the same order,

Unlikely. alloca() is not more machine-dependent than mmap() (every
major Unix platform except Cray and NEC vector machines implements
both), and it is less system-dependent than dozens of other functions
described by Teer but lacking any such notice. Why would you compose
such a questionable statement on your own?

> As for the second clause, I have seen and written those exact five
> words hundreds of times.

Sure. The smaller the units become, the more probable it is.

> Next, you'll be saying he plagiarized from the dictionary.

If he had written a couple of specific words in _alphabetic_ order
for no reason apparent from the context, that might have been worth
consideration indeed.

Gunnar

Dragan Cvetkovic

unread,
May 6, 2005, 1:31:07 PM5/6/05
to
"Gunnar Ritter" <Gunnar...@pluto.uni-freiburg.de> writes:

> Alan Balmer wrote:
>
>> >| Note that the alloca function is very machine-, compiler-, and
>> >| system dependent; its use is strongly discouraged. [your book,
>> >| page 99]
>> Oh, good grief. I might have written the same thing, with the
>> adjectives in the same order,
>
> Unlikely. alloca() is not more machine-dependent than mmap() (every
> major Unix platform except Cray and NEC vector machines implements
> both), and it is less system-dependent than dozens of other functions
> described by Teer but lacking any such notice.

Gunnar, as you know, mmap() is part of POSIX specs, alloca is not.

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 6, 2005, 1:34:47 PM5/6/05
to
Joerg Schilling wrote:

> However, simple programs may use sigset in case they loop on e.g.
> read() == EINTR and reestablish the handler inside the handler
> as sigset defiinitely adds the signal to the signal mask so the
> same signal may not be catched while a signal handler is active.

They need not even reestablish the handler inside the handler with
sigset().

But all that was not the point in question.

Gunnar

Dragan Cvetkovic

unread,
May 6, 2005, 1:37:33 PM5/6/05
to
"Gunnar Ritter" <Gunnar...@pluto.uni-freiburg.de> writes:

You mean the question is "how to assign privs to a program"?

Joerg Schilling

unread,
May 6, 2005, 1:43:26 PM5/6/05
to
In article <lmhdhg2...@privacy.net>,

Dragan Cvetkovic <draga...@gmx.net> wrote:
>"Gunnar Ritter" <Gunnar...@pluto.uni-freiburg.de> writes:
>
>> Alan Balmer wrote:
>>
>>> >| Note that the alloca function is very machine-, compiler-, and
>>> >| system dependent; its use is strongly discouraged. [your book,
>>> >| page 99]
>>> Oh, good grief. I might have written the same thing, with the
>>> adjectives in the same order,
>>
>> Unlikely. alloca() is not more machine-dependent than mmap() (every
>> major Unix platform except Cray and NEC vector machines implements
>> both), and it is less system-dependent than dozens of other functions
>> described by Teer but lacking any such notice.
>
>Gunnar, as you know, mmap() is part of POSIX specs, alloca is not.

mmap() _is_ part of the POSIX specs and mmap() creates more problems than
alloca().

mmap() did not work properly on Linux before 2.4
mmap() of anonymous memory as defined by Sun in 1987 (using f =
open("/dev/zero") does not work on all platforms and the alternative
MAP_ANON if not the same on all platforms (some use MAP_ANONOMOUS).
On Apollo DomainOS, you even need to do something ridicuously, you need
to specify the _address_ of the size parameter.

alloca() may be used if you include something simple like the <allocax.h> from
the Schily Makefilesystem:

#ifndef _ALLOCAX_H
#define _ALLOCAX_H

#ifdef __GNUC__
# ifndef alloca
# define alloca(s) __builtin_alloca(s)
# endif
#else
# ifdef _MSC_VER
# include <malloc.h>
# define alloca _alloca
# else
# if HAVE_ALLOCA_H
# include <alloca.h>
# else
# ifdef _AIX
/*
* Indent so pre-ANSI compilers will ignore it
*
* Some versions of AIX may require this to be
* first in the file and only preceded by
* comments and preprocessor directives/
*/
#pragma alloca
# else
# ifndef alloca
/*
* predefined by HP cc +Olibcalls
*/
# ifdef PROTOTYPES
extern void *alloca();
# else
extern char *alloca();
# endif
# endif
# endif
# endif
# endif
#endif


#endif /* _ALLOCAX_H */

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 6, 2005, 1:52:26 PM5/6/05
to
Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:

> "Gunnar Ritter" <Gunnar...@pluto.uni-freiburg.de> writes:
> > Alan Balmer wrote:
> >> >| Note that the alloca function is very machine-, compiler-, and
> >> >| system dependent; its use is strongly discouraged. [your book,
> >> >| page 99]
> >> Oh, good grief. I might have written the same thing, with the
> >> adjectives in the same order,
> > Unlikely. alloca() is not more machine-dependent than mmap() (every
> > major Unix platform except Cray and NEC vector machines implements
> > both), and it is less system-dependent than dozens of other
functions
> > described by Teer but lacking any such notice.
> Gunnar, as you know, mmap() is part of POSIX specs, alloca is not.

mmap() is an optional part of POSIX, and the specification explicitly
accounts for machine-dependent properties even for systems which do
implement that option.

True, alloca() is not part of POSIX, but most of the facilities in
Teer's ninth chapter are not part of POSIX either, and still, he does
not discourage to use them.

So that cannot be an explanation for the striking similarity either.

Gunnar

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 6, 2005, 2:02:23 PM5/6/05
to
Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:

> You mean the question is "how to assign privs to a program"?

No. I just prefer if people appeal against something which I (or
somebody else involved) did previously claim.

Gunnar

Dragan Cvetkovic

unread,
May 6, 2005, 2:06:35 PM5/6/05
to
"Gunnar Ritter" <Gunnar...@pluto.uni-freiburg.de> writes:


Huh? Could you please say that in German, I might understand it better?

Thanks and bye,

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 6, 2005, 2:15:48 PM5/6/05
to
Rich Teer wrote:

> My pleasure; I have no problem engaging in respectful,
well-intentioned
> conversation. But I have neither the time nor the inclination to
> engage in a pissing match with those who are intent on disparaging
> me for whatever reasons they have.

As far as I have seen, you seem the person here who permanently
refuses to argue with facts. Perhaps you could at least try to
explain the mental technique which allows you to generate phrases,
sentence structures, graphics, programs, and exercises which in
a row look strikingly similar to other person's works?

> I don't recall insulting Dickey in the past, so I have no idea why he
> seems to be personally attacking me.

Did you consider that this may not be a personal attack at all?
That people are just offended by what you did?

> Given that he seems to be a vocal Linux supporter

Yes of course. World can be so simple if you have an ideology.

Gunnar

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 6, 2005, 2:23:56 PM5/6/05
to
Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:
> "Gunnar Ritter" <Gunnar...@pluto.uni-freiburg.de> writes:
> > Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:
> >> You mean the question is "how to assign privs to a program"?
> > No. I just prefer if people appeal against something which I (or
> > somebody else involved) did previously claim.
> Huh? Could you please say that in German, I might understand it
better?

Nein. Ich ziehe es lediglich vor, wenn Leute etwas anfechten, was
ich (oder ein anderer Beteiligter) vorher behauptet haben.

Gunnar

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 6, 2005, 2:35:05 PM5/6/05
to
Dragan Cvetkovic wrote:

> Let us be more constructive: Can you give an example how would _you_
> formulate this terminfo vs. termcap issue that you are mentioning as
a
> first example in http://invisible-island.net/critique/APUE-SSP.html

> [...]


> Care to mention some? Except these two in dispute, I only know about
> "termcap & terminfo" by John Strang, Linda Mui and Tim O'Reilly, last
> published in 1988 (by O'Reilly), but as I said, I am not too deep
into the
> topic.

See, and if you read pp. 6-7 of that, you will find a description that
is radically different to the one of Stevens and Teer. It additionally
has the advantage of being more appropriate. In 4BSD, the routines for
termcap handling were not in "libcurses" but in "libtermlib" (the later
"libtermcap"), and the routines in "libcurses" were not removed from vi
but duplicated while vi retained its own code for that (e.g. fgoto()).

Gunnar

Dragan Cvetkovic

unread,
May 6, 2005, 2:42:12 PM5/6/05
to
"Gunnar Ritter" <Gunnar...@pluto.uni-freiburg.de> writes:

I see. Thanks.

Bye, Dragan

Jim Haig

unread,
May 6, 2005, 3:13:38 PM5/6/05
to
Rich Teer wrote:
> On Fri, 6 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:
>
> > Thanks for replying in among all this noise!
>
> My pleasure; I have no problem engaging in respectful,
well-intentioned
> conversation.

Thank you.

> > So you are saying that there is only stylistic similarity,
> > no (or not more than chance degree of) similarity of
> > wording or pictures (ie Thomas Dickey is wrong).
>
> Mostly the former, but a bit of both. The fairest way I can think
> of putting it is that Dickey is blowing any similarities out of
> proportion. In other words, I wouldn't say he is completely wrong,
> but I would also say that he isn't completely right.

So you are saying that there was borrowing /of content/
from Stevens' book to yours, but it was was small, and
it was blessed by the publisher?

> > But these two statements don't seem consistent. Which
> > is right?
>
> Dickey seems to use the term "borrow" as a euphamism for plagiarism,
> hence my careful use of (wishing to avoid) the former term.

Without looking at the two books, it is hard to
determine the validity of Dickey's claims. He claims
that there are a great many "borrowings" [of content],
and lists a number of examples. But you say that
most of his examples are wrong, just a few are
correct. Am I right?

-- jph

Rich Teer

unread,
May 6, 2005, 10:58:25 PM5/6/05
to
On Fri, 6 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:

> So you are saying that there was borrowing /of content/
> from Stevens' book to yours, but it was was small, and
> it was blessed by the publisher?

Yes, although I would say "some paraphrasing of content",
not borrowing. Almost since day one, SSP was at least
partially intended to be an APUE for Solaris.

> Without looking at the two books, it is hard to
> determine the validity of Dickey's claims. He claims
> that there are a great many "borrowings" [of content],
> and lists a number of examples. But you say that
> most of his examples are wrong, just a few are
> correct. Am I right?

Yes*. A lot of his examples are, I think, open to interpretation.
One person would look at both books, see the similarities (such
as they are) and cry fowl, and others would simply say "how else
would one write that, given the intent of imitating Stevens'
writing style". Dickey et al do the former, while others are
more charitable.

* I suspect that the bits he quotes are accurate, but his
conclusions and accusations are, umm, debatable.

If one is going to write about a subject that Stevens wrote about,
while trying to imitate his writing style, I think it is almost
inevitable that some similarities will occur. And that brings us
to the preceding paragraph.

Gunnar Ritter

unread,
May 7, 2005, 4:17:34 AM5/7/05
to
Rich Teer wrote:

> On Fri, 6 May 2005, Jim Haig wrote:
> > So you are saying that there was borrowing /of content/
> > from Stevens' book to yours, but it was was small, and
> > it was blessed by the publisher?
> Yes, although I would say "some paraphrasing of content",
> not borrowing.

Ah. Now compare this with the fourth point of
<http://www.ieee.org/portal/site/tionline/menuitem.130a3558587d56e8fb2275875bac26c8/index.jsp?&pName=institute_level1_article&article=tionline/legacy/inst2004/dec04/12w.pubsb1.xml>
(as linked to by Thomas) and see that unmarked paraphrasing is
a form of plagiarism.

Also see this text from your publisher, "Understanding Plagiarism",
<http://wps.prenhall.com/hss_understand_plagiarism_1/0,6622,427107-,00.html>
(also linked to by Thomas), particularly: "Make sure that you make
it clear to the reader where your paraphrase begins and ends and
where your own ideas or comments are included" and "In all cases,
remember to identify that you are referring to an outside source
in the body of your paper and to provide a complete source at the
appropriate place in your paper." You did neither of these.

It is odd that your publisher acknowledged what you did without
adhering to the publication standards on his own web site.

Gunnar

Chuck Dillon

unread,
May 9, 2005, 4:58:32 PM5/9/05
to
Thomas Dickey wrote:

> In comp.unix.programmer Chuck Dillon <sp...@nimblegen.com> wrote:
>
>>that you would still question. As for the 3rd table, how could they
>>appear significantly different and still be accurate? If I write a
>
>
> certainly they could - the coincidence I note is that the ordering
> of columns (titles) matches a lot. But then that's not coincidence.

My point is that there is no room for coincidence. The content is
determined (rote) and of simple structure so similarity is unavoidable
and as such evidence of nothing.

>
> There's a saying that you've probably heard:
>
> once is bad luck
> twice is coincidence
> three times is enemy action.
>
> When there are so many matches, it's obvious that there's a relationship.

Given the many examples of similar simple rote information in the
subject matter it's not surprising that you can find many such examples.

>
> (I don't buy into the notion that both Stevens and Teer copied from a third
> source ;-)

I haven't heard/seen that theory. What are you referring to?

-- ced

--
Chuck Dillon
Senior Software Engineer
NimbleGen Systems Inc.