WARNING: uuencoded files through gateways

POSTMAST at gunbrf.bitnet POSTMAST at gunbrf.bitnet
Fri Sep 20 12:33:00 EST 1991

In message <9109200435.AA01486 at genbank.bio.net> and in one earlier posting
Paul Fisher (micprf at lure.latrobe.edu.au) attempted to distribute a uuencoded
file rebsearch.uue.  While his generosity is commendable, from his position in
Australia he is probably unaware that BioNews is distributed over Internet
through gateways to other networks.  In particular a large part of the
recipients on BITNET receive postings though the gateway at City University of
New York (CUNYVM).  That gateway uses a non-standard ASCII to EBCDIC mapping
which mangles uuencoded files (and other files as well).  In particular, an
ASCII character 5E hex on INTERNET arrives as an ASCII E3 hex on BITNET, and an
ASCII character 7E hex on INTERNET arrives as an ASCII 5E hex on BITNET.
Although the gateway operators have been made aware of this problem it has not
been fixed.  In the last communication I had from Ben Yalow (YBMCU at CUNYVM) on
20-MAY-1991, he said,
> The problem is more complicated than that - the question of "EBCDIC" depends
> on which version of EBCDIC you are using (for 8 bit implementations of
> ASCII, it is also more complicated - but we're only dealing with 7 bit
> ASCII in the mail world).
(Notice that although he asserts only 7 bit coding is involved, one of the
characters arrives with the 8 bit set.)  He went on to say,
> In short, don't depend on those characters making it through any network
> gateways unchanged.  (In fact, don't depend on it looking the same at all
> terminals on one system).
For this reason, I agree with Rob Harper (harper at nic.funet.fi) that the
distribution of uuencoded files through BioNews should be discouraged.
And people attempting to distribute source code should be aware that code
containing the ASCII characters 5E (^ - up or carat) and 7E (~ - tilde or not)
may not arrive in original form.
                                 Dr. John S. Garavelli
                                 Database Coordinator
                                 Protein Identification Resource
                                 National Biomedical Research Foundation
                                 Washington, DC  20007
                                 POSTMASTER at GUNBRF.BITNET

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