I hate to bitch but bitch I must

Mark admin at asarian-host.net
Sat Oct 17 03:01:03 UTC 2009

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-freebsd-questions at freebsd.org [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at freebsd.org] On Behalf Of PJ
Sent: zaterdag 17 oktober 2009 3:50
To: Steve Bertrand
Cc: Polytropon; freebsd-questions at freebsd.org
Subject: Re: I hate to bitch but bitch I must

>>>> but from man tunefs:
>>>> BUGS
>>>> This utility should work on active file systems.
>>>> What in hades does this mean--just above it says cannot be run on
>>>> active file systems. ???
>>> It "should". This means: Don't try that. :-)
>>> My printer isn't printing!
>>> But it should.
>>> No, it is not printing!
>>> Yes, but it should.
>>> :-)

Actually, this has got very little to do with being a native English
speaker or not. It's ere a matter of intonation (which, in writing, can
only be conveyed to a certain degree, of course). 'Should' can certainly
mean "Don't try that." As in:

Will the ice hold me?
Well, technically it should.

(Meaning: it probably will, but I'm not overly confident.)

>> Aha! Gotcha! Whoever wrote that has made an unintentionnal booboo. It
>> is a subtle difference and is indicative that whoever wrote it is not
>> a native english user... the meaning is clearly "should be executed,
>> done, carried out, performed"

The meaning of 'should' is not nearly as narrow as you suggest. Often it
also denotes reservation (as in the above example). To illustrate once

Can I run dump on an active file system?
It *should* run on an active file system, provided (enumerations of
conditions which would need to be met; like preferably no disk-activity
when making the backup).

(Meaning: it can be done, but it's ill-advised, really.) And clearly it
does not mean "should be executed, done, carried out, performed."

Another one:

Will he run for President?
Well, he should be able to get enough votes.

(Meaning: if everything goes as planned, he might succeed, but it's by no
means guaranteed he'll actually get enough votes).

So, given the right intonation and context, "This utility should work on
active file systems." can certainly be understood to mean one could
technically do so, but that it's not recommended.

- Mark

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