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Re: error opening a pspp file

From: Ben Pfaff
Subject: Re: error opening a pspp file
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2018 08:44:13 -0800
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

On Mon, Feb 05, 2018 at 10:41:04AM +0100, John Darrington wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 04, 2018 at 01:57:53PM -0800, Ben Pfaff wrote:
>      Well, in the end the file shows two things:
>              (1) PSPP should not write a file that it cannot read later: if
>              you look at the raw file, it contains question marks.  This
>              means that PSPP output routines should be more careful about
>              insisting on writing the file in a character set that is
>              acceptable for later reading.
>              (2) PSPP should be able to read files that do contain bad
>              variable names, probably by replacing unacceptable bytes by some
>              kind of placeholder like X.
> Here is my guess at what happened: 
> The charset of the machine used to create the file is something other than 
> UTF-8,
> and either it has been (inadvertently) set to something incabable of encoding
> the umlauts he was trying to use, or the iconv library on that machine is 
> broken.
> So the try_recode routine in libpspp/i18n.c failed, and the fallback char,
> which is '?', see line 1167 was substituted.
> What I don't understand is how the user could not have noticed something 
> amiss at
> the time of data entry.  The variable names should have been rejected when 
> entered,
> or at least looked very wierd.

PSPP generally maintains variable names, etc. internally in UTF-8, and I
wonder whether we're not checking that against the charset at all the
appropriate times.  I could especially see that happening in the GUI,
where there's an extra layer of indirection.

But in any case I think the reader and writer should be more robust.
I'll work on that.

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