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renodino (6856)

renodino
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http://www.presicient.com/

Perl Contrarian & SQL fanboy.

Here's my CPAN goods. [cpan.org]

Journal of renodino (6856)

Thursday February 12, 2009
11:46 AM

Is DEET an effective Irony repellant ?

[ #38467 ]
My overlords have tasked me to fix a rather sticky, noisome bit of coding horror whose SQL parser is in need of repair (it needs an overhaul, but thats too risky). Actually, there are 2 or 3 SQL parsers in this pile of codegoo (after all, one is never enough!)

After 6+ hours of hair tearing, teeth gnashing and screaming at the walls while attempting to fix this coding disaster, I note the following harmless bit (coded with the rusty straight razor of 'C'):

if (token == '\n')

and realize the source of my angst. For the 768,529th time in my coding career, I've been a victim of the longest running practical joke in software development: Microsoft's schizoid newline character. After correcting the offending code, which fixed the problem, I decided I'd had enough for the day, and retired to idle repose with a tasty homebrew and cigar. After a moment I began to ponder

  1. How many millions of man-hours of quality software development time have been pissed away on this joke ?
  2. How many instances of this joke have escaped into the wild, causing bizarre, inexplicable behavior with what appears to be perfectly inocuous input text ?

The half pint of 13% ABV trippel then caused a mental segue to Bill G.'s recent stunt. While I applaud Mr. Gate's philanthropy, I would have liked to inform his audience that, as a software developer, I'm very accustomed to Bill G & Co. purposely releasing bugs to the public.

<rimshot/>

"Just add water, makes its own sauce..."

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  • I dislike Microsoft as much as the next guy (probably more), but the history [wikipedia.org] says that the real blame here is in the design of printers. As a result the division between systems that used \r\n versus \n goes back to the mid-60s, which is comfortably before either Unix or Windows was created.

    In particular Windows inherited \r\n from DOS, which got it from 86-DOS which Microsoft purchased the rights to use from Seattle Computer Products in 1980, which in turn implemented \r\n because it was a CP/M clone and