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There was never any bourne shell with limits like that, it's the kernel.
The smallest relevant limit (V7 kernel) was 5120 (by the way, POSIX guarantees 4096)
Only csh does so, which is not relevant for scripting.
And this is in no way related to a Unix (or its kernel) but only to the respective shell.
Nowadays it's AFAIK only Ultrix (and only /bin/sh but not /bin/sh5).
And Ultrix is becoming rare. In practice you can rely on functions (that is, a SVR2 shell).
The former item applies here, too.
And there is no point about using degenerate, because Bourne shells without unset (or functions)
are just quite early versions; they're not buggy or castrated about this.
What shells do come with an expr built-in?
(I only know the very original release of the Almquist shell.
Bash, ksh, traditional bourne shell, zsh, all later ash releases and pdksh don't provide it.)
What is meant? I can't reproduce something like that with SunOS 5.[1|3|5|6].