- 1. [Usenet] A bug in some now-obsolete versions of the netnews
software that used to eat up to BUFSIZ bytes of the article text. The bug
was triggered by having the text of the article start with a space or tab.
This bug was quickly personified as a mythical creature called the
line eater, and postings often
included a dummy line of line eater
food. Ironically, line eater ‘food’ not beginning
with a space or tab wasn't actually eaten, since the bug was avoided; but
if there was a space or tab before it, then the line
eater would eat the food and the beginning of the text
it was supposed to be protecting. The practice of sacrificing to the line eater continued for
some time after the bug had been nailed to the wall,
and is still humorously referred to. The bug itself was still occasionally
reported to be lurking in some mail-to-netnews gateways as late as 1991.
2. See NSA line eater.
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