WARNING: uuencoded files through gateways

Robert Harper harper at finsun.csc.fi
Sat Sep 21 08:26:31 EST 1991

In <9109202035.AA20293 at genbank.bio.net> POSTMAST at gunbrf.bitnet writes:

>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).  

This is a well known fact that files going from VAXES to IBM mainframes
tend to get trashed... EMBL has adopted a UUENCODING scheme which includes
a "Dumas table" at the head of the file, in some cases this solves the problem.

Another solution is to use UUXencoding... this is one option on the TRICKLE
servers and is especially useful for people in the UK who might have
troubles with UUENcode.

The term UUENCODE come from Unix-to-Unix encoding and that mysterious
664 at the top of the file is for setting the privileges on the file.

>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.

Yes the tilde/carat conversion is the one that hits the UK. Another problem
is trailing spaces at the end of lines. If you use an encoder that just leaves
mpty spaces then some mailers will strip out the spaces and the file will
not decode properly.

This is the reason that EMBL has stuck with a UUENCODER/DECODER
which overcomes these problems. There has to be some standardization
regarding what encoders/decoders to use. If everyone assumes that
they get by with their own set, it just does not work.


% Robert Harper                   %   HARPER at FINFUN   %   HARPER at CSC.FI   %
% Finnish State Computer Centre   %      Bitnet       %     Internet      %
% Tietotie 6, 02101 Espoo Finland % Tel 358 0 4572076 % Fax 358 0 4572302 %

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