[tex-live] the line-terminator problem

Nelson H. F. Beebe beebe at math.utah.edu
Mon Sep 28 16:50:49 CEST 2009

One solution to the line-terminator problem (CR LF on PDP-10 O/Ses and
Microsoft DOS and Windows, CR on older Macs, LF on Unix and new Macs)
is a set of portable tools that I wrote many years ago:

They provide for wildcarded batch file conversion between any pair of
conventions, with preservation of file timestamps.

Although PostScript was carefully designed to allow all three
conventions, most compilers for programming languages tend to choke
when presented with unexpected line terminators, and most other
software does too.

As a local example, last week one of our instructors reported that a
statistics package that successfully read a tab-separated data file on
Windows would lose the last column of data on Unix.  The problem was
traced to CR LF endings: on Unix, the lines looked liked

	100	200	300^M

(caret-M means literal CR character) and the statistics package simply
treated the last cell on each line as an invalid value, without so
much as a warning or error beep.

- Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
- University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
- Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe at math.utah.edu  -
- 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe at acm.org  beebe at computer.org -
- Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe/ -

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