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This is now solved with the enforcer:

currently, Maven does not require declaration of properties used in the pom, you just use them anywhere you like. Usually, if a property is missing, bad things tend to happen because it is replaced with the string "null". On a good day, resources from "translations-null-null" aren't included in the build, on bad days it's worse... And when you find the missing property in a pom you haven't written, you have to figure out what "${lopt}" means and what its legal values are...

So instead typing

No Format

this proposal wants you to write

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        <description>Locale to use</description>
                <description>Use German locale</description>

Of course, Maven should display an error if a required variable is missing. And it would be nice to have "help:describe-properties"...