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PuTTY displaying "special" characters

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# 1  
Old 05-01-2013
PuTTY displaying "special" characters

I'm not really sure which forum this question should go into, so I'm posting it here.

I work with AIX and RHEL systems using PuTTY (Release 0.60_q1.129) from a Windows 7 workstation.

Some of the files we get from z/OS use "special" characters as delimiters. These characters include Hex 18 or Hex 19.

If I "cat" the files in the PuTTY terminal window, the characters are not displayed (on either AIX or RHEL.) However, if I open the files using UltraEdit sftp, I see the characters represented as an up-arrow for the x18 and a bar with a line for the x19. (If I copy and paste the text from the terminal window into UltraEdit, the delimiters are simply missing.)

I would like to be able to see the special characters in the terminal window itself so I can quickly see what the file has is delimited with. However, being a UNIX Dummy, I don't know if it's an issue with PuTTY's terminal settings, or an issue or limitation with the Linux/AIX box itself. I've tried changing font, terminal and character set settings that I could find in PuTTY's configuration, but haven't had any luck. I've Googled for a solution, and find a lot of stuff related to displaying Asian languages corretly, but nothing seems directly applicable to this situation.

Since I can open the file in UltraEdit to see the delimiters, I do have a viable work-around, so this isn't a huge issue for me, but it's annoying enough that I thought I'd ask and see if anyone has any suggestions.

(As a side note, I work in an environment where the desktop is very tightly controlled, so the particular version of PuTTY I'm using is my only option for terminal emulation. I can't install or try different software or versions to see if this issue is common to any terminal client or specific to PuTTY.)

# 2  
Old 05-01-2013
convert from EBCDIC to ASCII:
dd if=your-ebcdic-file conv=ascii

# 3  
Old 05-01-2013
Characters below 0x20 are nonprinting characters, some of them have meaning to terminals, some of them have meaning to flow-control, some have no particular meaning.

Try cat -v to convert them to the sequence "^X" and the like when displayed.
This User Gave Thanks to Corona688 For This Post:
# 4  
Old 05-01-2013
Thanks Corona688,

The cat -v is helpful to at least see where the nonprinting characters are in the file. It doesn't show me which character it actually is, but it is still helpful to see where they are located.

It's also useful to know that the correct term for these characters is "nonprinting characters." I wasn't even searching for the correct term... that helps.

---------- Post updated at 03:56 PM ---------- Previous update was at 03:47 PM ----------

Originally Posted by vgersh99
convert from EBCDIC to ASCII:
dd if=your-ebcdic-file conv=ascii

Thank you for the reply vgersh99.

Unless I'm misunderstanding your reply, I don't think that will work for what I'm trying to accomplish. I don't want to actually modify the file at all, i just want to see what delimiters were used in the file (so that I can specify the correct delimiter in a bulk load statement for a db.)

They use these strange nonprinting characters as delimiters because they aren't likely to show up anywhere in the middle of a long unstructured text field.

I guess by definition if they are nonprinting characters, they won't display in the terminal window though... so I think my question has been answered.

Thanks again!
# 5  
Old 05-01-2013
Normally, cat -v does show what the non-printing character is.

Hex 18 shows as ^X
Hex 19 shows as ^Y
This User Gave Thanks to hanson44 For This Post:
# 6  
Old 05-01-2013
Originally Posted by hanson44
Normally, cat -v does show what the non-printing character is.

Hex 18 shows as ^X
Hex 19 shows as ^Y
Oh, I misunderstood Corona688's reply. I thought all non-printing characters would display as ^X. This is even better. Smilie
# 7  
Old 05-01-2013
This is even better.
Yes, it is. Smilie cat -v is really great.

There is also -T option to show tabs as ^I.

And adding -E option shows end of lines (with $).

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