The source code of *BSD contains the comment ‘Does this belong here?’

Polytropon freebsd at
Wed Apr 16 20:41:36 UTC 2014

On Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:14:22 +0300, Jorge Luis Carvalho Santos wrote:
> Polytropon, was placed Examples of  the presence of comment 
> ‘Does this belong here?’ in source code of FreeBSD and OpenBSD
> second users in Gentoo Forums.  

Erm, why do you place those in Gentoo Forums? Those are
usually Linux-related, while FreeBSD (and the other BSDs)
are not Linux?

Before I reply to your quotes, allow me to ask you: Are
you fully sure you _understand_ what comments are? Just
in case this isn't fully clear (which is quite possible
to someone who is not a programmer): Comments mainly
serve _two_ purposes:


Comments are written by humans intended for humans. Those
humans usually are developers, programmers, code auditors
or reviewers.


Comments explain code, especially when the code is not very
obvious in what it does. Things like

	int i = 1; /* associate the number 1 to the variable 'i' */

are not helpful, as you will agree, but more complex things
tend to be more readable if some comment is attached.

Regarding the "does this belong here" question: Sometimes a
programmer gets something working, but isn't fully sure if
it conforms to established guidelines, "good style", external
requirements, or he actually doubts that this code belongs
to where he wrote it. In this case, communication starts,
and _one_ of those places is the code file itself (see 1st
reason). Those comments usually indicate "there's still
work to be done, even though it already works". In many
cases, a prefix like "TODO", "FIXME" or "XXX" is being used
to draw other programmers' attention to that piece of code.

Finally, this kind of comments is being removed. But as
projects like FreeBSD and especially Linux are in a flow
of constant development and improvement, it's possible
that they will be kept for some times. This is simply
because (a) comments don't hurt anyone, and (b) those
who read them _know_ how to treat them.

The comment examples you refered to are a good illustration
of this concept, and as shown, they are also present
in FreeBSD:

> (from Slashdot): 
> haeleth at guthlac$ uname -srpi 
> haeleth at guthlac$ pwd 
> /usr/src/sys 
> haeleth at guthlac$ find . -name *.c -or -name *.h -exec grep "belong here" {} \; 
> * XXX doesn't really belong here I guess... 
> * This doesn't really belong here, but I can't think of a better 
> * XXX doesn't really belong here I guess... 
> * XXX FIXME: probably does not belong here 
> * XXX FIXME: probably does not belong here 
> /* XXX FIXME this does not belong here */ 
> * XXX these don't really belong here; but for now they're

Bow try to see the _meaning_ and _purpose_ of those
comments within the relations depicted above.

Regarding a different article, to illustrate the
context explained above:

> Citação:Various studies in the past have praised Linux for
> its code quality compared with proprietary operating systems.

That's interesting. How do you judge proprietary software,
which is usually _closed_ source?

Most aspects of proprietary source code cannot be judged
by the majority of programmers, users or researchers,
except maybe there's a massive security breach that
leads to code being "released" to the public. Those who
work in closed-source environments also often have to
sign NDA-like agreements.

Have a look at and see the "Code
Snippets of the Day". Most idiotic code presented there
probably originates from proprietary software. :-)

> A study in December 2004 by code analysis company Coverity
> found that the Linux kernel had only 985 bugs in 5.7 million
> lines of code, significantly fewer than the 5000 bugs that
> would be expected in a commercial program of similar size.

First of all, 2004 is 10 years ago. Then how can you
compare the number of found bugs to the number you
_expect_ originating from a code that you can't see?
In my opinion, this whole sentence is total nonsense
and doesn't say anything.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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