[csw-maintainers] solaris history question

Ben Walton bwalton at opencsw.org
Mon Aug 24 03:04:42 CEST 2009

Hi All,

I've discovered an interesting bit of solaris archaeology today and I
wanted to ask those with longer solaris memory why such a thing is
still supported.

Long before I ever encountered a shell, ^ was the symbol used to
separate commands in a pipeline.  It seems that solaris' /bin/sh is
still allowing this in some cases.  The following script demonstrates


export LESS

( echo test1
    echo test2
    echo test3 )^
/opt/csw/bin/ggrep 2

echo test^

The word 'test2' is spit out by ggrep and the word 'test' is sent to
the stdin of less.

Can someone provide some history on this?  It's fascinating (to me) as
a bit of lore from bygone days.

[As a side note, this is why the git tests were failing in the
mercurial test suite.  Git uses HEAD^ to denote second most recent
commit.  With that identifier in the right place, bad things were
happening when run under /bin/sh.]

Ben Walton
Systems Programmer - CHASS
University of Toronto
C:416.407.5610 | W:416.978.4302

GPG Key Id: 8E89F6D2; Key Server: pgp.mit.edu
Contact me to arrange for a CAcert assurance meeting.
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