> I'd support making psql 7.3 and forward be aware of the backend they 
 > are connecting to, and support them being able to work against all 7.3+ 
 > servers, but I still fail to see the pressing need for a backward-compatible
 > version when the correct one is always shipped with the server. 

This hits the nail in the head. I was just counting the pros' and cons to 
upgrade an large production system from 7.2.3 to 7.3.x.

The trouble is, there is need to access both types of databases, new and old. 
Often from the same psql executable.

So psql should definitely be backward compatible!


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