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bug#20526: BUG: text file is detected as binary

From: Eric Blake
Subject: bug#20526: BUG: text file is detected as binary
Date: Tue, 12 May 2015 06:06:13 -0600
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On 05/12/2015 02:41 AM, Kamil Dudka wrote:
> On Monday 11 May 2015 21:27:35 Paul Eggert wrote:
>> Perhaps we can improve the behavior of grep by changing its heuristic
>> slightly. Currently grep reports "Binary file FOO matches" if it finds
>> binary data in FOO before it finds the first match.  Instead, perhaps we
>> could change grep to report "Binary file FOO matches" when it sees that
>> it's about to generate binary *output* copied from FOO, regardless of
>> whether this output represents the first match.  That is, when grep sees
>> that it's about to output binary data, grep instead outputs "Binary file
>> FOO matches" and then stops output for FOO (even if it already output some
>> lines for ordinary matches in FOO).
>> This approach would fix the problem of grep trashing the output stream, and
>> it should be less drastic than grep's current approach, in that it would
>> make grep more likely to do what Kamil Dudka is asking for (assuming grep
>> is given mostly valid input interspersed with small amounts of binary
>> data).
> Thanks for the suggestion!  I believe that such approach would work for me.  
> Do you want me to write a patch implementing it?
> Eric, what do you think about the change proposed above?

I'm still a bit worried that encoding errors encountered on input, even
though they don't match for output, may still cause issues for some
patterns (we've had cases of encoding errors causing 'grep -P' to go
into an infinite loop, for example); but yes, as the behavior is
undefined, we are still justified in adopting those heuristics, if
someone is willing to contribute a patch along those lines.

Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org

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