Is there a specific reason why dash and mawk isn't supported?

Andrew Benton b3nton at
Thu May 5 15:48:51 PDT 2011

On Thu, 5 May 2011 22:19:58 +0200
Erik Blomqvist <erikblomqvist3 at> wrote:

> Hi,
> I hope this is the right mailing list for this question. If nothing else you
> seem to be the right people to ask.
> Considering that dash and mawk are smaller and faster than bash and gawk I
> was a bit surprised to find that LFS doesn't support them. Even Ubuntu, that
> is a huge distribution by comparison, uses those packages because they
> provide better performance. Considering that one of the reasons for building
> your own linux system is to get better performance, it would make sense to
> use the best performing packages. So why doesn't LFS use or at least support
> these packages?
> I'm specifically interested in knowing if there are any technical reasons
> for not supporting these packages, e.g. package x doesn't work with
> dash/mawk. If it's just for historical reasons, maybe it's time to
> reconsider?
I don't know about mawk as I've not tried it, but dash is not hard to
live with. Glibc needs a sed to a Makefile

sed -i 's/ot \$/ot:\n\ttouch $@\n$/;s:) $(SHELL):) bash:' manual/Makefile

Beyond that there are some strange problems where the configure script
tests the shell that it's running in and assumes that it is /bin/sh. So
if you're logged in to a bash session but /bin/sh is pointing at dash
the Makefiles assume /bin/sh is bash and then fail with errors because
dash doesn't support += syntax. See


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