The mystery of the forbidden names

Peter Rice rice at lionbio.co.uk
Mon Feb 12 17:45:29 EST 2001

Guy Bottu wrote:
> During an exercise session one of our students used seqed to make a
> nucleic acid sequence file with name "protein". When he tried to run the
> program composition, it took a very long time to run and produced an
> output saying that there are O bases. The program translate stalled.
> This is strange and a I never noticed it before. It seems that the
> programs composition and translate do not accept certain input file
> names. Besides "protein" another "forbidden" input file name is "new".

Yes - both are GCG database names, so if they are used with no extension GCG
will try to use that database instead. NEW was an alias (IIRC) for PIR2 and
PIR3, and PROTEIN was an alias for PIR1,PIR2 and PIR3. On VMS they were
logical names.

Another side effect was that on VMS - it was impossible to have NEW as a
username (it is a common English family name) because VMS would find the
logical name and try to send email to the PIR divisions instead of to the

Peter Rice, LION Bioscience Ltd, Cambridge, UK
peter.rice at uk.lionbioscience.com +44 1223 224723

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