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I really want someone to integrate fish and oil, and call the project "fish-oil" or something along those lines.



(Oil author here) Yes I think that's a great idea, and I hope to release a "liboil" so that people can do that. Let a thousand flowers bloom, etc.

The most likely thing is that Oil is going to be a much better language this year (more expressive, with safety features, and it should be fast), but the interactive UI will still be more bash-like than fish-like:

https://www.oilshell.org/blog/2020/01/making-plans.html

So I encourage anyone who's interested in that to get involved now as the interactive shell is also a years-long effort :) There are many links on the home page about how to get involved, and I wrote many blog posts so people can understand how it works.

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Here are a couple posts on why Oil is a good foundation for an interactive shell:

https://www.oilshell.org/blog/2020/01/history-and-completion...

https://www.oilshell.org/blog/2020/01/alias-and-prompt.html


I want to say that I am continually impressed at your long-term vision and commitment you have taken to the Oil project. Your posts are a treat to read, and the care you have given to the problem is appreciated. We need to stop paving cow-paths, and discard historical baggage if we are ever going to build robust systems.


Thank you!

Although I have to say I do feel the tradeoff right now between having a strong design / globally consistent code vs. allowing local variation / a lot of people to contribute quickly. That is, allow people to get in, add their useful patch, their useful bit of knowledge, and get out, without caring at all about the rest of the program.

I think Linux, git, and GNU are the prototypical examples of the latter. Those projects are too big for one person, so the code is set up in a way to allow hacking locally. They're also arguably a mess. Anyone who's ever written against the container APIs in Linux knows what I mean (namespaces, cgroups, etc.)

The git UI is another famous example, i.e. the plethora of commands and flags that make little sense. Empirically it seems that you can move faster if you disregard consistency and coherence.

The shell language of course grew like that over 50 years. Bourne shell is pretty consistent, but one thing I learned is that ksh added a lot of bash misfeatures (they're ksh-isms not bash-isms), and it's pretty bad.

But shell is actually a significantly smaller problem than git (after all bash is maintained more or less by one person). So it should be possible to fix it and redesign it. Unfortunately I'm not sure if the lessons generalize to bigger projects, but I would like it if they do.

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On a more practical note, feel free to send more people this way if you want to see the project succeed :) The design is there, and it will hold up, but it needs a bit more manpower, especially for things like the interactive shell.


The trick is separating out external facing (api/ux) consistency from code style/data-structure/etc consistency. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t have coherency across the whole project for the latter because that can easily be swapped out later if it’s even a problem.

Most single-person project maintainers have trouble relaxing the latter and end up staying a single-person project because of it.




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