>>>>> "JB" == Jean-Paul Blaquiere writes: JB> what has happened with grep? on slink it act nice and sanely, JB> but on potato it does wierd things with the following: Try 'set | less', and you'll see that: IFS=' ^@' which is indeed an unprintable character. Having said that, it's all a bit bizarre, since there are no unprintable lines *output* by grep, and even if there were, I do think it's being just a bit overprotective. Do 'grep -a' instead. m.