Re: dos2unix question

Subject: Re: dos2unix question
From: Keith Arnett <keith_arnett -at- RESTON -dot- OMD -dot- STERLING -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 1998 14:43:49 -0500


First, a couple of questions:

To what platforms are you distributing these ASCII text files?

Why are you preparing them in DOS (the MS variety, I presume)?

If you are distributing solely to UNIX platforms, there is no reason
why you shouldn't be developing the text files in UNIX. You can do
this from your PC using an emulator program like Reflection X.

The ^M problem is a common one, and reflects the ways the different
platforms handle carriage returns. Many people distribute two
versions of a text file, one for windows/dos and one for UNIX. I
believe Adobe does this in their Acroread distribution--readme.wri and

I might be able to comment further if I know a little more about your
environment and distribution situation.


Keith Arnett
Technical Writer
Sterling Software, Inc./Operations Management Division
Reston VA USA

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: dos2unix question
Author: <ccarr -at- OVID -dot- COM> at INTERNET
Date: 4/8/98 9:43 AM

Hi, guys--

We offer all of our docs in ascii text, along with other formats. The
ascii txt is for the convenience of our sysadmins who use UNIX. I use an
in-house text editor to do this on the DOS platform and I've had no
complaints. Recently, however, one of our QA guys entered a request that I
dos2unix all of the TXT files, in order to get rid of "^m" characters at
the ends of the lines. (He's found one document that had that problem.) I
went ahead and checked some other documents using vi in unix and didn't
find the ^m problem. I checked with our Support people and asked whether
they'd ever noticed the problem or had a customer complain. No, they said.
I responded to the request saying that I had no evidence of complaints, and
was it really necessary to add another step to our already complicated
documentation procedure?

Today I got a reply from the same guy saying that the txt docs should be in
unix format, regardless whether anyone has complained. "It just makes us
look dumb to have them in DOS format."

Of course there's more going on here than just txt file formatting--I'm
trying to be more aggressive about eliminating extra steps and details from
our doc procedure and the docs themselves, and I've gotten more proactive
about saying, "Look, do we really need to include this?" I'm the only doc
specialist right now here, and our status is pretty low (okay, not
groundhog level, but kind of low); I think it's created problems with our
documentation, because over the years the docs folks just crammed
everything anyone wanted into the materials. I'm trying to be more
discriminating: in other words, to behave and be treated like a
professional. I've only been a tech writer for a bit over a year.

So I guess my main question would be:

is it standard procedure to dos2unix TXT files for UNIX customers?

If I find out from you guys that it is, I'll just clam up now and start
doing it.

Thanks. Please reply to me directly; I get the digest.


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