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From: "David Brownell" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> The general issue is what someone pointed out: what to do
> with things that aren't explicitly mentioned in a specification.
> A strict interpretation of any spec says that you can't ever rely
> on such things ... ergo, it's as if they're forbidden. It's always
> safe to read a good spec strictly. If such a reading gives
> nonsense, it's a spec problem.
Natural language communication is always flawed, and formal
specs in artificial languages often leave chunks out or themselves
need proving or err on the side of specifying what is easy to
represent in their notation/formalism. Executable specs
for standards (such as IDL) are quite a lot better, but most
specs are not for interfaces.
So the idea of standards as Holy Writ passed down from the
gods messes everyone up: a standard is the result of negotiations
from some community, and the best way to make standards
work is to integrate in with that community and to get to know
the original intent.