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Re: CIF line limits

Although I understand Nick's proposal I am willing to support the position
of Brian Toby and Herbert Bernstein. I am living in my Department the
always paradoxical situation by which we claim (and teach) the enormous
potentiality of Unix, C, Phyton, etc. whereas in our labs we still work on
old PC,s or VAXes running DOS or VMS (not the last version of course) but
that control very efficiently diffractometers and other devices. Migration
from a stable configuration to an "improved" one means normally to stop
activities for a indeterminate period of time. Even when the migration is
smooth the fine tuning is rather cumbersome. Under this perspective we can
consider as a virtual device the method for publication in Acta C. Are the
tools used for CIF validation compliant with lines of arbitrary length?. I
think (perhaps I am wrong) that the answer is no. In this case the
(stable) way of paper submision to Acta C had to be interrupted or any CIF
(valid on the other hand) with line length beyond the current limit should
be rejected. Even the programs listed in the COMCIFS home page should be
rewritten or modified (the f77 PLATON code has more than 80000 lines). My
guess is that this useful list should be removed during an unpredictable
period of time. That is not the best publicity for CIF,s. In my opinion
before any official removal of limits critical software has to be ready
for such migration. On the other hand line lengths are not really part of
the BNF and an appropriate comment about the future removal of any limit
in line length would be enough to approve the BNF. Following with
practical considerations I would be in favour of extending the limit (up
to 200?) to cover the PDB requirements.

Best regards


Gotzon Madariaga                          |   E-mail: wmpmameg@lg.ehu.es
Dpto. Fisica de la Materia Condensada     |
Facultad de Ciencias                      |   Phone: 34 946012467 
Universidad del Pais Vasco                |   FAX  : 34 944648500
Apdo. 644                                 |
48080 Bilbao (SPAIN)                      |