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Re: What is the opposite of 'printf'?

From: Matthew Woehlke
Subject: Re: What is the opposite of 'printf'?
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 10:06:10 -0600
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Matthew Woehlke wrote:
(Sorry this isn't exactly the right list, but this feels like a problem coreutils should solve, and I don't see gmane carrying anything better.)

I am looking for a way to convert binary data to a format that 'printf' will understand (and more importantly, from which '<something> | sed 's/\\/\\\\/g' | xargs printf' will produce the same output as the input). Am I missing such a utility, or might this be an opportunity for me to write 'unprintf' for coreutils? ('od -An -c' gets close, but still needs some complex parsing if it is to round-trip.)

The objective is to be able to reproduce a binary file from an 'editor friendly' shell script. I know base64 could do this, except that base64 is not portable (even to pre-6.x GNU coreutils), whereas printf is IIRC required by POSIX.

Thanks Eric and Bob for the replies. Unfortunately, as stated, the problem is that I am looking to generate an editor-friendly script (i.e. makeself is out) that can be run on arbitrary platforms (i.e. codegroup is out). And apparently uudecode is also out; my computer has man pages for it but no programs(?!). Conversely, I can't say I've run into a system yet that lacks printf.

So my original question remains... would anyone be interested in considering 'unprintf' for inclusion in coreutils? (Note: I /am/ volunteering to write and maintain it.)

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