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Re: Is this a gcc bug?

On 12-Jan-2001, <> wrote:
> <<For the Mercury compiler, many error messages have two different forms,
> one of which includes additional information such as hints about possible
> causes of the error.  By default, the compiler prints the concise versions,
> plus a line at the end of the compiler output saying "For more information,
> recompile with `-E'", which is the compiler option to enable the more
> verbose messages.  I think this is a good compromise.
> >>
> But that's a response about verbosity, my question which I repeat:
> > So the question is, should an error message like this try to educate,
> > or just take the simple minded non-determinstic viewpoint.
> is about point of view. These are orthogonal issues.

They're not entirely orthogonal, since if you're restricted to using
only concise error messages, then often you don't have sufficient room
to educate.

The simple-minded viewpoint could easily mislead the user,
while the correct viewpoint could confuse the uneducate user.
If the choice is between being misled or being confused,
I think it is better to leave the user confused, so long as
we give them a hint about how to obtain more information.
With a `--verbose-diagnostics' option, as outlined above,
that is quite feasible.  So I vote for trying to educate.

Fergus Henderson <>  |  "I have always known that the pursuit
                                    |  of excellence is a lethal habit"
WWW: <>  |     -- the last words of T. S. Garp.

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