Subject: Re: Suggestion: keep binary data out of /etc
To: Christoph Badura <>
From: Jaromir Dolecek <>
List: current-users
Date: 02/07/1999 14:57:31
Christoph Badura wrote:
> So tell me one thing.   Since Unix doesn't have the concept of binary files
> (or rather -- since it treats all files as an opaque stream of binary octets
> -- no concept of non-binary files) how can grep possibly tell that a given
> file isn't a binary file?
> Will that depend on some obscure environment variable?
> Will grep decide behind my back, that I don't really want to grep
> those Japanese text files I'm telling it to look for string in?
> Note also, that I grep object files regularly enough that having
> to remember that I now need -a for what has "just worked" for the last 15
> year would be utterly annoying to me.

Well, I managed to grep through binary files and hosed my terminal
enough times to be pleased by the new grep behaviour. If Japanese
text is using nulls in text, it's really unfortunate :( But grep
is not Japanese-aware anyway, so ...

Windows comment doesn't apply here. Not writing garbage from binary
files is feature good for most (all-1, apparently :-) people; if
ya don't want the behaviour, you can make short /usr/bin/grep script with
/usr/bin/grep.real -a $* in it any time and it would work as before :)

One more shot -- for object files, the grepped line is useless anyway
(you are not going to edit the object files manually, are you ?),
so information whether the string has been found is enough even for you 
I guess :)

Jaromir Dolecek <>
It is better never to have been born.  But who among us has such luck?
One in a million, perhaps.