McKown, John skrev:

UNIX uses colons (and PASE is a kind-of UNIX). Windows, just to be a pain in the posterior, went with semi-colons. Billg can't stand to do anything like the rest of the world. Which is another reason that I despise Windows.

Not quite. Windows inherited its view of the world (notably files) from MS-DOS which in turn started as a quick and dirty hack allowing to easily run ported CP/M-80 programs.

In CP/M the colon meant something special in file names. Notably the drive syntax, where A was the first floppy, B the second, and then C was vacant for the next drive name when MS-DOS needed a drive letter for the harddrive.

So Windows inherited the "drive-colon-path" syntax, but that again means that if the separation symbol is colon, then the paths break. Sigh. But again, Unix uses colons, as semicolons separate commands in shells. Fortunately it is not so bad if you end up creating runnable/executable jars as they allow relative classpaths in the manifest in the main jar file.

But the confusion is understandable - the silent failures of classpaths is probably the singlemost source of problems for a new Java programmer. Sigh.

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