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Re: [GNU m4 1.4.16] Shy groups in regular expressions

From: Tim Landscheidt
Subject: Re: [GNU m4 1.4.16] Shy groups in regular expressions
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2012 20:49:17 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1 (gnu/linux)

Eric Blake <address@hidden> wrote:

> [...]

> Shy groups are not part of glibc's re_compile_pattern, and are therefore
> not a part of GNU m4.  M4 is only using glibc's implementation with a
> flags of 0, which happens to be emacs-compatible, and not extensions
> such as shy groups that have later been added to just emacs beyond what
> glibc provides.

> If I could ever get more time to work on m4, there is a proposal for m4
> 2.0 to allow the user to have more control over which flavor of regex is
> in use, rather than forcing things to glibc's re_compile_pattern with
> the default flag settings.  It would be feasible to make m4 2.0 compile
> against libpcre or other such extension mechanism, in order to also
> allow for additional regex flavors with features such as shy groups.

Thanks for the explanation.  While m4 2.0 certainly sounds
nice, I think the bug in:

|      [...]                           The syntax for regular expressions
|      is the same as in GNU Emacs, which is similar to BRE, Basic
|      Regular Expressions in POSIX.  [...]

could also be fixed by changing the reference :-).  I googl-
ed a bit, but gave up when I ended on

| The GNU C library supports two interfaces for matching regu-
| lar expressions.  One is the standard POSIX.2 interface, and
| the other is what the GNU system has had for many years.

and then did not found any documentation for "the other".
Gnulib has some information at
but it focuses on developers using the C functions rather
than someone interested in the syntax supported.


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