Clive D.W. Feather clive at
Tue Aug 3 09:23:25 UTC 2004

Paul Eggert said:
>> A case would have to be made for this.
> The case is pretty simple:
>  * In practice more programs rely on the exactly-26-byte behavior,
>    (which is still documented in many manuals) than in the
>    standard-mandated behavior.

This may be true. However, making a Quiet Change to a published standard is
a serious matter, since it potentially breaks existing working code. Doing
this in favour of code that does not conform to the Standard is even more

>  * Many popular implentations fail to conform to the standard for
>    years less than 1000.  This includes the current versions of
>    Solaris and HP-UX.  No doubt there are others.

Broken implementations aren't exactly a great argument either. What about
those implementations that are currently conforming?

>>> Can't we easily fix things by changing the standard to say that it's
>>> implementation-specified as to whether the format uses %d or %4d for
>>> the year?
>> Actually %.4d would be better.
> Wouldn't that print the year -9 as "-0009"?


%04d would be better in my opinion, though I'm willing to debate it. In
particular, "0093" is clearly a long time ago; "  93" could be 1993.

>> I'm not saying this is a hopeless cause, because this *is* clearly a
>> case where WG14/X3J11 messed up.
> OK.  What's the next step, if we'd like to pursue this more formally?

I'm discussing it on the WG14 mailing list.

> How does one file a defect report against the C Standard these days?

Through your National Body.

I will draft one when I have some spare time.

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