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[Caml-list] Bug with really_input under cygwin
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Date: -- (:)
From: Nuutti Kotivuori <naked+caml@n...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Bug with really_input under cygwin
skaller@users.sourceforge.net wrote:
> On Wed, 2004-03-10 at 09:30, Eric Dahlman wrote:
>> Howdy all,
>>
>> I have some code which is reads in a whole file in and returns it
>> as a string.

If you have a master's degree in reading in between the rant, you
probably picked out the right answer from the text below. But here it
is as a simple answer:

  Loop doing 'input' on the file, until 'input' returns zero.

'really_input' is ofcourse nice and easy, but since you have no really
proper way of knowing how large the entire file is going to be in the
end, you need to make a decision with the buffer size anyway.

Binary or non-binary mode only affects the \r\n -> \n translation while
reading the file - and vice versa while writing.

> The only correct way to do this is to read a block at a time
> until you get a partial block.
>
> This is so EVEN in 'binary' mode, which is just another
> ill conceived Unix hack :-)

[...]

> It is unfortunate that C and Unix do not provide a coherent
> abstraction in this area. Even binary I/O is ill-conceived:

[...]

> C has been plagued by extremely ill considered functions.
> Even the basic IO operation is not correctly defined.

[...]

> There is no such thing as 'the number of characters
> in a file'. Perhaps there is a number of bytes in a file.

[...]

> In MS-DOS, files *always* consist of a number of 256
> byte blocks. It is impossible to have a file with
> a non-256 byte multiple size. Of course, text files
> uses an encoding with a Ctrl-Z at the end.

[...]

> Under Linux, the Standard for text encoding is UTF-8.

[...]

> I personally believe the easiest way to work around this
> quagmire of malspecification is to 
>
> (a) ONLY use 8 bit binary I/O
> (b) ALWAYS read and write bytes
>
> even if you're processing text. Never depend on the
> language or OS conversion functions, its very unlikely
> they'll be right. Do all the conversions needed yourself.
> At least when you find a problem you're not handling
> correctly you can fix it.

Luckily not everybody sees the world as glum :-)

-- Naked

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