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Status of sorted order patches

From: Daniel Berlin <dberlin_at_dberlin.org>
Date: 2005-12-29 18:45:08 CET

So whatever happened to the sorted order patches that were posted back
in November.

I searched the ml archives, but the last thing i see is

1. Branko saying he thinks the output of all things should be sorted.

2. Julian saying he had patches to do that that he would update and
post. I can't seem to find that post.

However, just to address #1 again:

I don't believe we should make accepting a patch to sort the output of,
say, diff, dependent on patches to sort the order of everything else,
for four reasons:

1. We are *already* in a situtation where the output of some of our
command is sorted (list), and others not. Sorting more commands output
does not make consistency any better or worse for users.

2. There are some commands where sorted output order is *very*
useful[1], and others where it is not. I doubt users notice much, or
really even care, for example, that the output of export or import is
not sorted.

3. There are some commands and cases where sorted output order is much
harder to do, and will probably take a while to implement. Just because
this is the case, doesn't mean we should hold up everything else in the
name of "consistency" (which as #1 notes, we don't even have right now).

4. It's also somewhat strange that we even talk about caring whether all
or some commands have sorted output order, since the output order on
non-sorted commands may be sorted by luck. We have never given users
a guarantee that the output is sorted or non-sorted, and it would be a
very hard guarantee to make. We should simply say "we try to sort what
we can, but don't rely on it being sorted" and be done with it.

[1] diff in particular, among other reasons, so that you can compare
diffs where the files modified in the two diffs have different times and
dates, or you've modified one more file, both of which will sometimes
change the current output order, depending on the phase of the moon.

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Received on Thu Dec 29 18:46:24 2005

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