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Re: Case insensitivity ad nauseum


From: Derek Robert Price
Subject: Re: Case insensitivity ad nauseum
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 12:23:35 -0500
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Chris Garrigues wrote:

|>From:  address@hidden (Larry Jones)
|>Date:  Thu, 6 Nov 2003 11:49:29 -0500 (EST)
|>
|>Chris Garrigues writes:
|>
|>>Yes, "Therapist" and "TheRapist" do convey different ideas.  However, in
|>
|>an
|>
|>>actual English sentence, it's pretty damned clear what "I'M GOING TO SEE
|>
|>MY
|>
|>>THERAPIST THIS AFTERNOON." means even without mixed case to clue you in.
|>
|>Yes, case is less important when you have additional context like an
|>entire sentence.  The problem is that in most computer applications, we
|>don't have any contxt to allow us to distinguish one thing from
|>another, so case becomes more important.  You may have noticed that I
|>misspelled "context" in the previous sentence, or maybe not.  In either
|>event, I'm sure you had no trouble understanding what I meant.  Are you
|>now going to claim that English isn't spelling sensitive, either?
|
|
|Careful now or you might end up making my point for me.
|
|The fact is that I didn't even notice that "context" was misspelled and
I did
|understand the sentence completely.  Given that human beings care and do
|understand things which are misspelled and which have differing case, it
|should be obvious that from a human interaction perspective, it would
be ideal
|if the computer could also understand things which are misspelled and have
|differing case.  Understanding misspelled words is a difficult task and is
|well beyond the scope of this email, but whether or not a computer language
|or operating system or software package is case sensitive or not is a
|design decision and IMHO, from the perspective of usability, Unix (and
C) made
|the wrong call.
|
|However, after over 30 years, this is not a decision which is going to be
|changed, so I just grumble about it in email every few years and go on with
|my life.
|
|Chris


The salient point to me is that _sometimes_ case does make a difference
and a case insensitive filesystem can take that choice away from the
user in some circumstances.

Now, a filesystem, or perhaps something akin to bash's tab-completion
that would make sense of misspelled and miscased words, when it seemed
best, and would still allow words with conflicting case when requested,
might make sense, but I don't think CVS has any business fiddling around
at this level.  If a SysAdmin thinks it important that the CVS server
look case insensitive, that admin can install the repository in question
on a case insensitive file system.

Derek

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