from the make-communication-easy dept.
In the good old world where every computer was for itself, people used every available character to name their files. Now, where every computer is connected to a network, this is no longer possible. Read on to see how to name a file.
Windows users may use everything except : and \ and / also up to 255 characters. Case is not sensitive.
DOS users may use the same characters, but only one . and 8 characters before and 3 characters after it. Everything is uppercase.
DOS Applications, Windows and native MacOS X applications use the Extension (the stuff after the .) to identify the type of the file. Case is sensitive with MacOS X.
UNIX users may use up to 32 or, with recent systems, up to 255 characters. Everything is allowd exept /. The shell uses some metacharacters like space, \ and ;. Also here, case is sensitive.
This is one aspect. Another is the codepage of your system. You see a umlaut. Your neighbour has another system and sees only a cryptic character.
A directory like Program Files is no problem in a GUI. On a command line, you need to escape these files - you need to type cd "program files" to enter this directory. Even more, you may create a file called letter; rm -Rf / - your sysadmin will shred the whole server in a few seconds...
To create portable files, you should only use the characters A-Z, a-z, 0-9, _ and -. Give every filname a . and the right extension. txt for text, doc for Winword Documents, htm for webpages... Don't give a file the same name with different cases. UNIX Users may create and handle two files with the names blafasel and BLAFASEL - your friends with Mac and PC can't.
MS DOS is no longer widely used. Most of the systems are able to process files with more then 8+3 characters. But if you are unsure, try to use short filenames.
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