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Re: policy around 'wontfix' bug tag

Richard Hector (2018-02-05):
> Actually, a good(ish) explanation is provided in a later bug, #729952:
> ------8<------
> The date parsing feature exists in Debian only for compatibility with
> upstream. It is a complete misfeature, and I would prefer that it didn't
> exist at all. In an ideal world the entire idea of trying to utilize a
> natural language parser would be scrapped in favor of a simple and
> regular grammar. Unfortunately, it is what it is. The only way to use
> the feature is to experiment until you find something that does what you
> want. The corollary to that is that nothing can be changed, because
> doing so would break existing scripts that were tweaked to perform
> correctly using the current implementation.

This statement mixes good and bad.

The date parser is quite convenient, I use it frequently for small dates
calculations, and I am not alone in that at all. That disproves the fact
that it is a "complete misfeature".

The truth is that it is a badly-used feature. It is the same as the
pretty-printed output of ls, with colors, columns, type suffixes, SI
prefixes, etc.: it makes the output more readable for a human, less
readable for a computer. It is good for interactive use, bad for script
use. For script use, there are other tools, depending on the task.

Do not blame the feature, blame the people who misuse it.


  Nicolas George

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