Nick Coghlan added the comment:

Sure, but both of those can fail (forgetting to run make patchcheck, using a 
different editor from your normal one for some reason)

Once the commit hook is set up properly, you get alerted to the problem as soon 
as you try to commit, rather than having to untangle a merge chain when you 
realise on pushing that you stuffed up the whitespace in the original bugfix 


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