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Suggestion for ZSH, who do I send it to?

So, I have a few suggestions. Are you open to using GNU libraries in ZSH? If so, I was thinking how ZSH is so powerful (and easy to use), that it can actually handle all types of data -- like all 256 characters of ASCII. So with multibyte turned off that means binary, even if its a little slow. But here is the problem with dealing with binary, or unusual characters through ZSH, every operation requires using several ZSH builtin commands / variable expansions. This makes a process that converts data into something more usable on the input or the output very CPU heavy and inefficient. My suggestion is to add a few options to the sysread and syswrite builtins that come stock with ZSH in the system module:

 * -d : (sysread) to make the variable created an integer type
   containing the numerical value corresponding to the raw byte value,
   for -s 1; and for -s 2+ (reading more than a single byte), make it
   an array with each indice containing a string of decimal digit(s),
   whose numerical value is generated the same way, representing the
   value for each byte.
 * -h : (sysread) to make a string value that is two characters per
   input byte, representing the value of the byte in hexadecimal
   (padded with 0 if less than 16, and obviously as with above, a null
   would equal 00).  This would make Zsh able to function for whatever
   given needs (boot environments, less prevalent unix-like systems)
   without having to supply an xxd program, and it would be much more
   efficient processing when any math is involved in the script.
 * -c : (syswrite) to make string the name of a variable who's value is
   processed in the same way as (( math context )) in hexadecimal, two
   digits at a time.  In other words starting at the beginning of the
   string, convert two hexadecimal characters into one byte, then the
   next two, etc., and any characters that are members of the IFS
   variable are ignored and discarded, and any other encountered
   non-hexadecimal characters causing an error, and lastly any
   remaining single digit hexadecimal characters either ignored or
   converting to it's value as if it had a 0 in front of it (My
   suggestion leaves that up to you who program this).

And my other suggestion is that you add support for (statically?) compiling with the GNU MPFR library, so that in systems where this is possible, super long numerical values can be handled in the math context (with the appropriate min and max precision variable set super long). This would make a half a dozen scripting situations work much better than running out of precision space whenever doing operations that shift the values several powers of 10 or 2 left or right. More importantly, depending on bc or gawk to run really long number calculations can be cumbersome and problematic if they are not present.

While Zsh may not be intended to be a fix-all-do-all shell and scripting environment. I believe it has the potential to be both the best user-friendly environment and the most versatile rescue environment, capable of replacing all other command-line shells in unix systems.

Micah micah@xxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:micah@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
AskMicah.Net <http://askmicah.net>, Problem Solving Agency

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