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MathGroup Archive 1995

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Re: Download from Mathsource

  • To: mathgroup at christensen.cybernetics.net
  • Subject: [mg1534] Re: [mg1512] Download from Mathsource
  • From: Richard Mercer <richard at seuss.math.wright.edu>
  • Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 00:04:27 -0400

>  I have experienced some problems downloading .m files
>  (packages) from Mathsource to my Mac.  The files arrive
>  as text files and when I open them with MMA everything
>  seems ok, but when I execute the file I get error
>  messages.  This is because of the different way computers
>  deals with line feeds and carriage returns.  I can see
>  this by saving the loaded file with MMA. Now it has become
>  a MMA file and the next time I load it I can see the
>  "missing character" sign in place of the LF/CR characters.
>  I can use find and replace to solve the problem, but it's
>  lengthy and annoying.  Is there a better way to get the
>  files with the corect characters right away from the Net?
>  I normally/preferrably download with Netscape 1.1 "save
>  link" command, but I could also use Fetch or something
>  else if necessary.
>  

>  Thanks in advance
>  

>  Alessandro Stecchina

This can indeed be a problem. The supposedly "platform-independent" packages
(.m files), because of the linefeed problem you mention, are in fact not fully  
platform-independent. If the linefeed problem is not corrected, you may observe  
strange behavior when trying to load such packages.

I have found that packages given in notebook format (.ma files on some systems)  
are actually *more* stable when transformed between platforms than when in the  
package format! My guess is that notebooks handle linefeeds internally.

Unfortunately this doesn't help you much unless you can get people to post  
packages in notebook format, or at least binhex format (.hqx) for Mac users.
Your best bet would be to find a DOS-MAC text tranfer utility that handles line  
feeds correctly. Recent Macintosh system software I believe will do this  
automatically IF you feed it the file on a DOS disk! (Not convenient if you  
download directly to your Mac.) I'm sure there are public domain/shareware  
solutions to this problem but don't know what they are.

Richard Mercer


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