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Re: RFI: Trailing blanks

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: RFI: Trailing blanks
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 12:03:04 -0700 (PDT)

> From: Akim Demaille <address@hidden>
> Date: 27 Aug 2001 13:23:47 +0200
> & is special: I've been bitten by this AWK program:
>       gsub ("@comment.*", "@&t@", line);
> which of course had the result of prefixing with @, suffixing with &@.
> I backlashed it and it works, but do we want to keep sth like this?

Sorry, I don't quite follow: are you worried that users will often
write awk programs that generate configure scripts?  Unless I'm
missing something, I don't think it'll be much of a problem in
practice.  People who play with regular expressions have to learn the

I should give some credit to the @&t@ pun.  The "&" is my own
invention, but the "t" came from the source code of the ALGOL68C
compiler, written by Steve Bourne (of Bourne shell fame), and which
used "mt" to denote the empty string.  In C, it would have looked like
something like this:

char const mt[] = "";

but of course the source code was written in Algol 68.

I don't know where he got "mt" from: it could have been his own
invention, and I suppose it could have been a common pun around the
Cambridge University computer lab at the time.

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