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Re: [Mingw-users] _XOPEN_SOURCE




It occurred to me that we're not just talking about the computer science
concept of the null string, but the very concept of zero.  It can be argued
that zero is not a number, and as I understand it, people did arithmetic for
millenia without recognizing such a number.  If you have no apples, the
question "how many apples do you have" is not answerable.  Yet, zero is so
useful that we're all used to it such that if you asked someone to write down
the number of apples he has, he would feel completely justified in writing
zero.

So you have a real uphill climb in demonstrating not only that the null value
is not a value in C macro language, but that the author of the book we're
talking about held that view.  I know you can't find any reference for the
idea that a macro can have no value, and I probably can't find anything that
explicitly says the null value is a value.  (Unfortunately, my brief look at
manuals tells me that the term "value" isn't even used in technical
discussions, so this is just a generic term we have to interpret).

>It is not the same as an empty string represented by "" which has
>zero characters.

That's the C language.  We're talking about the C macro language, where
quotation marks have no special meaning.  "" in the C macro language is a
2-character value.  The only way to give a zero-character value to a macro is
to put zero characters in the body part of the #define statement.

One thing I haven't pointed out yet is the importance of the fact that
"(with any value)" is a parenthetical expression.  That means the sentence is
correct without it.  I.e. "If defined, expose ... definitions".  Doesn't
matter what you define it to, just define it.  The parenthetical is very 
helpful, though, because if the author had left it out, a reader would say,
"Define it to _what_?  A macro has to be defined to _something_.  Finish
the instruction."  It would not be obvious to a reader that the library is
just doing an #ifdef and the value doesn't matter.

>did you read the the first paragraph on the next page explaining that
>_XOPEN_SOURCE is expected to have a value?

It says it is expected to have a value to conform to certain standards.  That
has never been in question in this thread.  The original question, which I
believe you were trying to answer with this book reference, was have _all_ of
the X/Open (XPG, XSI) standards required a version number value for
_XOPEN_SOURCE.  Keith Marshall, who made the surprising original statement
that they have, seemed to be convinced otherwise later when he changed his
stance to, "we don't care to implement those old standards."

-- 
Bryan Henderson San Jose, California

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