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Re: Case insensitivity ad nauseum


From: Donald Sharp
Subject: Re: Case insensitivity ad nauseum
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 10:30:38 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.4i

It's not terribly uncommon to have both Makefile and makefile
in some build trees I've seen( and they have a different meaning
to make! ) on unix.  I wouldn't want cvs to stop surporting
the ability to track this at all!  It's not unreasonable to have
the same name with different cases, rare yes, but not unreasonable.

The true dichotomy of this problem is that cvs is trying to 
support different filesystems which have different semantics.

donald
On Wed, Nov 05, 2003 at 10:11:45AM -0500, Jim.Hyslop wrote:
> Greg A. Woods [mailto:address@hidden wrote:
> > [ On Tuesday, November 4, 2003 at 13:57:25 (-0500), Derek 
> > Robert Price wrote: ]
> > > Subject: Case insensitivity ad nauseum
> > >
> > > So anyway, why _don't_ we remove the case-insensitivity support?
> > 
> > I can only say it should never ever have been put in in the first
> > place.
> First, Derek, let me thank you for all the work you have put in on this.
> 
> It sounds like I'm going to be the sole dissenting voice here, at least so
> far. Let me explain my reasoning; it will be rather round-about, but please
> bear with me. It will (I hope) make sense in the end.
> 
> Historically, computers have not had the processing power to be able to work
> the way humans expect the world to work, so humans have always had to bend
> to the limitations of the computer. While that may have been acceptable
> forty years ago, in this day and age when using desktop or laptop systems,
> it is not. Computers today are tools that should make the jobs easier for
> human beings. Computers should bend to the expectations of humans, not the
> other way around.
> 
> >From the time we first learned to read, we have never considered the case of
> a word to be significant in determining the identity of an object being
> referred to. My name is Jim. My name is also JIM. If you're talking about
> me, then it doesn't matter whether you spell my name "Jim," "JIM," or any of
> the other six variations involving case: the label that you apply to me is
> not case-sensitive. That's the way the world works... except in computer
> sciences. Well, I believe the time has come to rectify that.
> 
> A file name is a label that a human applies to a particular entity called a
> "file". As I said earlier, case distinction in labelling entities is
> irrelevant. Case-preserving, case-insensitive file systems are, in my
> opinion, the correct way to model the world. In this respect Bill Gates
> actually did something *right* with Windows (let's not go into the myriad
> ways he went wrong - that's a whole other troll^H^H^H^H^H rant).
> 
> As you have probably gathered, my background is almost entirely
> Windows-based. In case-sensitive (i.e. Unix) systems, what is the generally
> accepted practise with respect to naming files: is it generally considered
> bad practise to have two files with the same name, that differ only by case,
> in the same directory? My understanding is that the common practise on Unix
> is to use all lower-case names, to avoid potential confusion. Sounds to me
> like this is a manually-operated (and therefore error-prone) convention
> imposed in order to have, effectively, a case-insensitive, case-preserving
> file naming system ;-)
> 
> Let's build software that works the way people expect. On a
> case-insensitive, case-preserving file system such as Windows or (I believe)
> Mac OS, that means making the program smart enough to realize that "cvs rlog
> myproject" also means "cvs rlog MyProject". If you put it in, you
> unfortunately won't get a lot of Windows users saying "thank you for making
> it match the case", but if you leave it out you might get a lot of Windows
> users saying "WTF? Why am I getting an error with 'cvs rlog myproject'?
> Whaddya mean it's case-sensitive?!? What a stupid program!!"
> 
> It won't be easy, and I'm sure the problem is rather complex, but I truly
> believe the end results *will* be worth the extra effort involved.
> 
> -- 
> Jim
> 
> 
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