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digitalmars.D.learn - why doesn't formattedRead take args by ref instead of by pointer?

If I change formattedRead's input signature to:
uint formattedRead(R, Char, S...)(ref R r, const(Char)[] fmt, ref S args)
and adjusted code accordingly.

It seems to work fine.

see implementation here:
(just run unittests: rdmd --main -unittest dtools/all.d)

why is std.format. formattedRead taking by pointer instead ?
could we change that (with proper deprecation), or add that function?
May 16 2013