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Re: [groff] [patch] do not strip mdoc macros

From: Colin Watson
Subject: Re: [groff] [patch] do not strip mdoc macros
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2019 18:35:57 +0000
User-agent: NeoMutt/20170113 (1.7.2)

On Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 12:43:53PM -0400, Doug McIlroy wrote:
> Bjarni Ingi Gislason wrote:
> > It is objectively correct to strip the macro files of bytes that are
> > meaningless for the program "groff"
> >
> > It is objectively correct to _not_ strip the macro files of bytes
> > that have a meaning for humans.
> >
> > So provide both versions.
> The conclusion is compatible with the premises but doesn't 
> follow from them.
> For human consumption, the comments are desirable. For machine
> consumption the comments are harmless. So there is no compelling
> need for the latter. For maintainability and intelligibility of
> the groff distro, smaller is better.


It would follow from Bjarni's argument, if accepted, that it is
objectively correct (a strong claim!) to install programs in scripting
languages on user systems only after first stripping comments from them
(or perhaps even only after also running them through a compiler, where
available).  Now, there certainly are people who take that position; but
it is very far from being the dominant or accepted position at least in
free software circles, much less something that one can claim with a
straight fact to be "objectively correct".

Colin Watson                                       address@hidden

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