Beware of gedit

I love using gedit to make changes to config files in Linux. However, I have recently encountered some odd issues where config files that I edit using gedit just don’t work properly. However, making the exact same changes with vi or vim does not have any issues.

Looking at both files (one edited with gedit, the other with vim), they look exactly the same…so I thought. Apparently, gedit likes to add a \r (carriage return) to the end of some lines. This is a hidden character, so if you open the file with gedit, or vi/vim, you won’t see it. However, this hidden character can cause a very nasty side effect to your config files in that some applications will not properly parse the file. As a result, your application (or OS) will not work (talk about a great way to perform a nasty DoS attack).

This is the type of problem that will make you pull your hair out trying to solve. So, the solution? Either use vi/vim or nano. If you use gedit, make sure you do a find and replace where you want to find “\r” and leave the replace textbox blank. This will remove all instances of \r. Your file will “look” exactly the same, however, you eliminated that pesky hidden carriage return character causing all the problems.

You’re Welcome!

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