Octal literals have their uses (you Unix haters skip this one)

Lasse Reichstein reichsteinatwork at gmail.com
Thu Jan 12 22:15:06 PST 2012

Seems like a library interface that isn't well thought through:
Accepting a number as input, but it's only reasonably written in one
base. Then it's not really a number, but rather a formatted string, so
the chmod function should take a string as argument and do its own
parseInt(_,8) on it (and accept other formats too, like "a+rw" or

Don't try to fix a single broken interface by adding unnecessary
features to the language!
/L 'not a Unix hater, but probably a chmod hater'

On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 8:51 PM, Wes Garland <wes at page.ca> wrote:
> I'll chime in with my vote - I would LOVE to be able to use octal literals
> again in GPSEE for setting file permissions.
> chmod("filename", parseInt("777", 8))
> ^^^^ just looks stupid when  chmod("filename", 0777) would work just fine.
> Wes
> On 12 January 2012 14:11, Brendan Eich <brendan at mozilla.com> wrote:
>> [Resending reply with elaboration. /be]
>> Yes, the ability to quote the octal literal with Node's APIs came up on
>> the gist, but it's not enough.
>> Quoting is easy to forget, and making the runtime convert string (literal)
>> to number is inefficient compared to having JS do it at compile-time, and
>> making the runtime (even via a call to parseInt) do it also increases bug
>> habitat ever so slightly.
>> Mainly, users don't have to shun octal in non-strict mode, and they do not
>> in Node code I have seen. They won't be adopting strict mode as far as I can
>> tell. Banning octal is just one more reason for those who *might* adopt
>> strict mode to reject it.
>> Agree on parseInt. Old dog, hard to change (runtime-only errors are
>> migration- and user-hostile). Not sure what to do there.
>> /be
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> --
> Wesley W. Garland
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> PageMail, Inc.
> +1 613 542 2787 x 102
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