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unreproducible bug with ${=...}

Dear Zsh Workers,

While working on some backup scripts I ran into what looks like an intermittent bug, which I was not able to reproduce sufficiently consistently to get a minimal test case. I'm not sure if that's helpful to report. Here is the relevant fragment:

    excludes=(/dvds /tmp .gvfs /fs)
    opts=(-a --partial
        ${=${:-"--exclude "$^excludes}}
        -e "$ssh")
    cmd=(sudo $rsync $opts $src_paths $dst_path)
    >&2 print -l $cmd;

Basically all arguments and variables are the same between one run and the next, but sometimes it prints

    --exclude /dvds
    --exclude /tmp
    --exclude .gvfs

(prompting a complaint from rsync), whereas usually I get the intended


The other parts of the script don't do anything weird, there is a file locking part which creates traps on INT, TERM, and EXIT after some options setting:

    unsetopt localtraps # so the 'trap' lasts beyond the function
    setopt posix_traps # so that we can trap EXIT

Here is the value of IFS, I don't think I set it anywhere.

    $ echo -n \"$IFS\" | od -c
    0000000   "      \t  \n  \0   "

If anyone has some advice about what may be causing this, or how I can debug it or try to get a minimal test case, I'm willing to spend a little more time. I imagine it's somehow my fault, but I can't think of what could be going on here.

I was running the command on an Intel Core 2 Duo laptop, with Arch (zsh 5.7.1).



P.S. I switched to using "zip" expansion, as suggested by Mikachu on IRC, which seems more elegant and doesn't use IFS: ${${:---exclude}:^^excludes}

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