Caution About MH Files and Newline Characters

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MH commands expect their files, like the MH profile, to end with a newline character. (In general, you get a newline when you're using a text editor and press RETURN.) The vi editor will automatically terminate the last line with a newline character. Some other editors, including GNU Emacs, may not always put a newline at the end. When you edit an MH file, be careful about this.

A file that doesn't end with a newline can put MH commands like inc into an endless loop. If your MH commands "freeze," be sure that your MH files end with a newline. You can use a UNIX command such as:

% tail -1 file | od -c

000000   s   h   o   w   p   r   o   c   :     m   h   l  \n
to see exactly how a file ends -- the last character should be \n.

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Last change $Date: 1999/10/10 05:14:05 $

This file is from the third edition of the book MH & xmh: Email for Users & Programmers, ISBN 1-56592-093-7, by Jerry Peek. Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. This file is freely available; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. For more information, see the file copying.htm.

Suggestions are welcome: Jerry Peek <>