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Running scripts and accumulation of symbols at the command line prompt

From: pathematica
Subject: Running scripts and accumulation of symbols at the command line prompt
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 2010 06:02:36 -0700 (PDT)

I am slightly embarrassed to ask what might be a very basic question. I would
consider myself a mathematician learning enough syntax to use Octave for
mathematical purposes rather than a programmer. I do love Octave though!

I have a series of scripts (written and passed to Octave in the QtOctave
environment). I use them to build up a variety of diagrams in stages (using
a conventional backend output to gnuplot). This requires passing variables
between scripts. I have tried to declare global variables where required and
clear them where sensible. There may be some loose variables which, whilst
not defined as global, survive during a session. It can be difficult to spot
them when running and rerunning scripts out of sequence. 

When some scripts are run, sometimes the terminal accumulates large numbers
of the "greater than" signs at the end of the command line prompt (usually
there are three in the terminal provided by QtOctave).

Sometimes QtOctave hangs. This does not happen every time there are large
numbers of greater than prompts but they are usually there when it does. 

The same script run repeatedly behaves unpredictably. There may be several
runs with large numbers of signs and then one with the normal number of
three. Sometimes it leads to a hang on one of the repeats.

I presume the increase in the number of prompt symbols is trying to tell me
something but I cannot discover what it might be. I realise that it might be
related to QtOctave rather than to Octave and I apologise if this is not
something to do with Octave and therefore not a relevant question here. 

Is there is a simple explanation?

It might be that it reflects my sloppy programming style or I am doing
something stupid - don't worry, I have no pride!

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