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Re: correct behavior for output-comparison conditional?

From: Dave Kemper
Subject: Re: correct behavior for output-comparison conditional?
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2021 08:11:52 -0500

On 7/10/21, G. Branden Robinson <> wrote:
> I think Ossanna implemented what was practical and easy without worrying
> too much about how the functionality would have to be rationalized if
> explained to someone without access to the source code.

Sure, and Ossanna worked under constraints of performance and memory
unthinkable to us today.  I don't begrudge him his shortcuts.

But, as I understand it, James Clark wrote groff without reference to
any previous source code.  So when some nonintuitive behavior gets
enshrined into groff, we can probably assume it's intentional -- even
if its only intention is mirroring historical behavior.

> The behavior of this operator is so specialized that I despair of
> coming up with a better name for it.

Well, the operator has gotten along without a name for a few decades
now and can probably continue to do so, even if it makes the
introductory sentences to emails about it a little long-winded.  More
important is describing its behavior accurately.

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