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[groff] Comments about the bug report #42675 (long)

From: Bjarni Ingi Gislason
Subject: [groff] Comments about the bug report #42675 (long)
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2018 02:08:14 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-12-10)

  Title: \} considered as macro argument regarding register .$

  The reported bug (#42675) is a panic one.

(Later I checked the whole earlier "discussion" on the "groff" list. 
The whole shows me such a lack of thinking; it is just reacting and
"don't think about it, neither before and especially not after"; "don't
do experiments to verify your possible lies".)

  1) The land is "legacy", so their laws prevail

  2) The example does not work in legacy-land.
     There the result is an emptiness.

  3) No comparison is provided between legacy-land and the GNU-land

  4) When the example has been translated to the legacy-language the
result there (SUN 5.10) is:

1 1 1 2

  which is correct (if you know the legacy-language)

  5) The example in GNU-land shows:

0 1 1 2

  which is correct (if you know the GNU-language)

  The shown result in the bug report (1. 1 1 2) is corrupt.

  6) If the example is from the legacy-land, the interpreter in
GNU-land has to know that, to get the translation right, so

  the interpreter has to switch to legacy-language, and it then says:

1 1 1 2

  which is correct.

  So there is no bug in the computer software, just "panic", or
unwillingness to solve the problem in the reporter's own time.

  There is no need for an extra explanation.  It is in the legacy
"Troff User's Manual".  The real bug for this perceived bug is in the
brain-software of people.


  Such reports do not fulfil some criteria to be accepted, so should
be rejected with the possibility to carry on if the lacking elements
are provided and accepted (just like articles submitted to a ((computer
) science) journal).

  The current procedure "Need info" could be used with a time limit
to deliver them.  The submitter should know, or learn in his own time,
what to provide.

  These "panic" reports are a time theft.

N.B.  This whole mess shows that "style" matters, some do create bugs
or pseudo bugs, while others aim at avoiding that altogether.

  Too many prefer (automatically follow) the former: legacy, custom,
house rules, same style in the same file, tradition; and reject, oppose
the latter and of cause without any evidence for their "style" being
better in all (even any) cases, or better in any possible future.

N.B.  "groff -Wall ...", for people to keep them clueless, surrounded by
(mental) fog, ignorant ...


On the Cruelty of Really Teaching Computing Science

Edsger W. Dykstra (Dijkstra)

SIGCSE Bulletin 1989, 21(1), pp. xxv-xxxix.

Also ""


Know yourself, and the kinds of errors you make.  Once you have
found and fixed a bug, make sure that you eliminate other bugs
that might be similar.  Think about what happened so you can
avoid making that kid of mistake again.

Brian W. Kernighan, Rob Pike "The Practice of
Programming". Addison-Wesley. 1999. P. 137.


Herman Rubin in the Usenet forum "":

  Is a good artist a good teacher of art?  Do the best players
in a given sport make even good coaches?  Or does the coach even
need to have been a player in that sport?

  What is good teaching?  One can teach manipulations without
understanding; the present students have had so much of this
that they almost demand that this be done in at least all of the
"elementary" courses.  This is encouraged by the present
elementary and secondary schools.  The products of such
education no longer have their original thinking abilities.


The present method of "integrated" subject matter discourages
thinking; we should not teach students how to apply one subject
to another, but expect them to.  If they cannot, they have not
understood the subject to be applied.


>A doctor diagnoses an illness on the basis of memorized facts.

We need NOW doctors who can do MUCH better than this.  This
almost assumes that one does not have libraries, data banks,
etc.  Facts can be supplied by these; the ability to think


But a large proportion of college students have had the ability
to think about what they are doing destroyed.  Should we teach
students to act like machines?  This is how they have been
taught what the schools call "mathematics", but which does not
make it any easier for them to understand mathematical concepts
than when they started out, AT BEST.


Dewey was an outright socialist, and made no bones about it.
Here are a couple of quotes from him.

"The children who know how to think for themselves, spoil the
 harmony of the collective society that is coming, where everyone
 (would be) interdependent."  1899
"Independent self-reliant people (would be) a counterproductive
 anachronism in the collective society of the future [...]
 (where) people will be defined by their associations."  1896
              John Dewey, educational philosopher, proponent of
              modern public schools.

I have seen a quote from him, which I do not have in my files,
that anyone who starts to think threatens people.

I do not believe in a society where the thinking is done by those
in the government apparatus.  We need non-conformists for society
not to stagnate.


  The important part of research, which I describe to my
students as "seeing the obvious", and as it has otherwise been

"Scientific research consists in seeing what everyone else has
seen, but thinking what no one else has thought"

                                                -A. Szent-Gyorgyi

This ability can be encouraged or suppressed, but it cannot be
taught, and a bright student in a group with those who cannot
see is going to have too many problems with his groupmates to
have the right type of environment.

The educationists' idea that anything can be taught is wrong.

Working as a team toward a common goal has value when the goal
is to produce something not present.  In a class, the goal is
for EACH student to learn, whether or not the others manage to
do so.  Classes should be for that purpose only.

And if the schools had not demotivated them in the first place,
it would not be necessary to remotivate them.  Small children
want to learn.  Any teacher who makes a child sit there while
others are being taught what the child already knows is
attempting to destroy that desire.


  Education and training are almost totally different.
Education provides the understanding to handle UNTAUGHT
situations.  Trained teachers will, and should, be replaced by
machines.  An educated teacher will not persist in the same
explanation if a child does not get it the second time, and
often even if it is not gotten the first time.  An educated
teacher will not teach the same course in the same way
repeatedly.  This is for robots, not humans.

>I agree, but that isn't the real point, Herman; the point is do the
>vast majority of the population give a damn?!  Would they sit still
>and listen to it and take the time to learn it, or would they decide
>that it had no relevance for them and tune it out?  You continue
>to think only in terms of the desires, abilities, and interests of a
>relative handful of students.

If they are taught to think from the beginning, to consider why
rather than how, the proportion will be greater.  If the schools
would do as they used to, especially in the early grades, take
the attitude that learning is not for today, or even for
tomorrow, but for years down the line, this will not be so much
of a problem.  Once you get a child thinking only about the
short run, a mind is in danger of being destroyed.


>I've administered many multiple choice tests in my time, and I never
>cease to be amazed at how frequently the questions are answered with
>the wrong answer.

That they are answered with the wrong answer is not the
problem.  That the answer does not show the thinking is
the problem.


Some of us have posted that we would ONLY give problems
on our examinations, and not too many of them.  If your
attitude is typical of what goes on in the present
schools, and I think it is, it becomes clear that there
is no place in the public schools for those who want to
teach children to think instead of to become machines.


However, I consider the person who cannot use precise thinking
as a major danger as a voter.  How can such a person consider
the long-term effects of a policy, and long-term need not be
100 years in the future, but often as little as five.  The
problems are complicated enough that even short-term situations
require careful formulation and calculation, as one of the
points which should be taught and stressed is that, when even
a few of the aspects are considered, what looks obviously true
is actually false.  There are many clear examples only involving
a little algebra, or even "pre-algebra", with the calculations
being done by others or by machines.  The ability to formulate
long word problems is the mathematical equivalent of writing
declarative sentences and paragraphs.


It is not working harder which matters; it is thinking.
It is understanding, not memorization.  It is education,
not training.


>I know people who can pass tests and get full scholarships to college who make
>bad decisions.  I don't think the ability to puke information onto a bubble
>sheet is going to help a person make a decision.

I agree.  Making decisions requires thinking, and this is not
developed my memorization and routine manipulations.  What is
needed is getting general principles, and having to decide when
and how to apply them in situations other than those in class
or in the textbooks.

Bjarni I. Gislason

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