Starting to poke at this... the proposal to add prove checks for psql just to see whether \if respects ON_ERROR_STOP seems like an incredibly expensive way to test a rather minor point. On my machine, "make check" in bin/psql goes from zero time to close to 8 seconds. I'm not really on board with adding that kind of time to every buildfarm run for the foreseeable future just for this.
ISTM that these tests allowed to find bugs in the implementation, so they were useful at some point. They are still useful in the short term if the implementation is to be changed significantly to respond to your various requirements. The underlying issue with TAP test is that it installs a new cluster on each script, which is quite costly.
In this case, the same result could be achieved with a number of small failing tests, which only launch "psql". Could that be acceptable? What you suggest is to keep only *one* failing test, which I find is kind of a regression from a testing coverage perspective, although obviously it is possible.
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