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So I did some more digging through the MiKTeX source code[1]. There's a couple of different Wolfgangs mentioned in comments scattered around the source, but I'm not sure which of them (if any) prompted this flag. I did find the following comment:

Revision 3.6 1995/10/21 22:20:42 kempson Fixed numerous bugs, improved error reporting and added the --wolfgang option.

So apparently it was a PhD from around 1995 or so.

What's even more impressive is that their name got turned into a magic incantation: while looking at forum posts about this I found that a lot of people just said "always pass --wolfgang, it makes things better"!

[1]: https://github.com/MiKTeX/miktex/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=wol...




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