Why no 4Linux? (Yet?)

I’ve had users requesting a Linux version of 4NT / TCC for many years, because they:

  1. Had to support a mixed Linux / Windows environment, and/or
  2. Were switching from Windows to Linux and wanted to move their aliases & batch files without having to start from scratch with a new shell.

#1 is alreadyaddressed (albeit somewhat clumsily) by packages such as Cygwin or MKS.

#2 has never constituted enough users to support the development of a new interpreter.

Several years ago I ported the current version of 4NT (now called TCC) to Linux but eventually decided not to release it. There are a number of problems with attempting to convert Windows syntax to Linux, including:

  1. The switch character is different (/ vs. -)
  2. The path separator is different (\ vs. /)
  3. The variable syntax is different (%var vs. $var)
  4. Linux doesn’t use drive names (i.e., C:)

A “4Linux” based on the Windows syntax would still require editing existing aliases & batch files (though not as much as when converting to a Linux shell) and its syntax would of necessity be clumsy enough to scare off any potential converts from bash, tcsh, or zsh. And if someone really wants to run TCC in Linux, it’s already possible using Wine (http://www.winehq.org/).

Given the plethora of shells in Linux, is there any reason to write a new one? And will Linux users pay for a command interpreter when they’re used to getting them for free? In the past, my answer was no, but I’m rethinking it now …

  1. I’d add:

    3) Windows users wanting to be able to use familiar commands in an unfamiliar world.

    There reasons for Windows users to get exposed to Linux-like environments (which gets Mac OS into the picture too) continue to grow. I don’t know a single software developer who isn’t interested in developing for smartphones and Macs now, and that soon gives you an entry point if you didn’t have one before.

    I can only speak for myself – I’d pay 50% more for a Win TC that also came with a fairly compatible Linux/Mac version, even if it was initially relatively limited.

    And if it also contained Python as a fully integrated, first class script engine, eg. with inbuilt classes that are functionally/semantically equivalent to the standard TC functions, variables and commands, I’d pay whatever you asked. Now THAT’s a PowerShell. 😉

  2. I started with 4DOS in the late 80’s and have had some flavor of it on my machines every since because there was always something in it that blew my current utilities away. I never had a lot of batch files to maintain but used it interactive.

    I have gone from Windows to Mac about 5 years ago. Now a client of mine wants to investigate Linux because of the lower costs.

    It WOULD be real cool if I could load up TC. I would be at home and putting out scripts to replace the Windows stuff they have in no time.

    Yes, I would pay too.

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