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character syntax of linefeed?

From: Tobias C. Rittweiler
Subject: character syntax of linefeed?
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2009 11:45:15 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.110006 (No Gnus v0.6) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Quoting 35.2.1 Table of Syntax Classes:

  -- Syntax class: whitespace character
     "Whitespace characters" (designated by ` ' or `-') separate symbols
     and words from each other.  [...]  Space, tab, newline and formfeed
     are classified as whitespace in almost all major modes.

However, if I open, say, an empty foo.el or foo.c file, press RET
and then M-: (list (string (char-before))
                   (string (char-syntax (char-before))))

I get ("
       " ">"), i.e. a syntax of type 'endcomment'.

This behaviour seems to go through 23,22, and 21, so it's definitively
not new. :-)

My question is, is the above paragraph just wrong? Can I count on it
being ">"? 

Additionally: It seems that CR has a syntax type of `symbol' since
version 22, but it was ">" on 21.


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