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MathGroup Archive 2005

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Portable Notebooks and Filenames[]

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg57869] Portable Notebooks and Filenames[]
  • From: frank <frank at>
  • Date: Sat, 11 Jun 2005 03:35:24 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


in our group we are using Mathematica both on Windows and on Linux (and
I'm about to convert a MacAddict to Mathematica).  However, we are
facing one problem with external file names.

It is possible to use 


(from a syntax point of view; of course the beginning of the string will
be different, like ~/netdrive vs. w:)

On the other hand, this works only on Linux:


while on Windows, only this construct works:


(\ needs to be escaped because \* or nearly any \<letter> combination
has some meaning).

This is weird - first because Windows understands the forward slash as a
directory separator, and second because it means we have to do
search-replace orgies when trying a notebook on a different OS.  This
would not only happen in a preamble part, but we even have some
functions that read all data in a subdirectory, for a list of

Is there a way to write such expressions portable?  Is there, for
example, an internal variable "directory separator" that could be used
in this string?  Alternatively, if it's possible to replace \\ by / (and
vice versa) by some string matching mechanism, we could write a function
that does this if some boolean is set once in the notebook, or even
depending on some internal variable that indicates the OS?

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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