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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

Technical documentation

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uuencode — format of an encoded uuencode file


Files output by uuencode consist of a header line followed by a number of body lines, and a trailer line. The uudecode command ignores any lines preceding the header or following the trailer (see uuencode(1)). Lines preceding a header must not look like a header.

The header line consists of the word begin followed by a space, a mode (in octal), another space, and a string which specifies the name of the remote file.

The body consists of a number of lines, each containing 62 or fewer characters (including trailing new-line). These lines consist of a character count, followed by encoded characters, followed by a newline.

The character count is a single printing character, which represents an integer. This integer is the number of bytes in the rest of the line, and always ranges from 0 to 63. The byte count can be determined by subtracting the equivalent octal value of an ASCII space character (octal 40) from the character.

Groups of 3 bytes are stored in 4 characters, 6 bits per character. All are offset by a space to make the characters printable. The last line may be shorter than the normal 45 bytes. If the size is not a multiple of 3, this fact can be determined by the value of the count on the last line. Extra meaningless data will be included, if necessary, to make the character count a multiple of 4. The body is terminated by a line with a count of zero. This line consists of one ASCII space.

The trailer line consists of the word end on a line by itself.

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