Pep, ver 3.00 - FAQ

Last update: 1997-08-09

PEP Pep is program intended to serve as a general purpose "filter" for text files. Pep may for example be used to expand or compress tabs, convert to and from several character sets, to interprete ANSI escape sequences, and to remove unwanted line noise from files. This FAQ attempts to answer some of the most frequent asked questions about the program and its use. It is maintained by Gisle Hannemyr. Use this form if you need to contact the author.

The archive site for pep is:,
and this FAQ is located at:

"Pep" box aquired!

Pep (the program) is named after an excellent Norwegian detergent (also named "Pep" of course) that used to be manufactured by Denofa-Lilleborg. It was the all-powerful washing powder of my childhood. Lately it seems to have vanished from the shops. Thanks to Harald Arnesen I am now the proud owner of the last box of Pep washing powder on the planet! The scanned logo is shown above.

FAQ Contents

VERSIONS  [jump]



The Answers


?: Will there ever be a version 3?
!: Probably not. I started working on version 3 in 2004 to integrate the (then) new utf-8 standard character set encoding in pep. However, the GNU iconv utility and libiconv library do a good job of converting between character sets (including utf-8), so I started using those instead of finishing pep 3.
While there is a preliminary manpage and release notes for pep 3, those are now only of historic interest.
?: What is the status for the versions of pep running on various platforms?
!: In the beta period, I concentrate on Sun Solaris and Microsoft W/NT. Don't expect much progress on other platforms before ver. 3.00 is out of beta. Here is a rough update, broken down to systems.
  • MS-DOS 3.11: ver. 2.8 released
  • MS W'95: ver 2.8 released
  • MS W/NT: ver. 2.8 released
  • Linux (80386): none yet
  • SunOS: ver. 2.8 released
?: How do I compile pep for a Sun workstation?
!: Pep is written in a modern dialect of C (ANSI C) that features type checking and other enhancements. The compiler Sun Microsystems ships as part of their system (cc) is not capable of compiling modern C programs like pep. If you get strange compilation errors when trying to compile on a Sun (i.e. SunOS and Solaris), first check that you are not just using the old Sun compiler.
  Sun Microsystems sells an ANSI C capable C compiler. Alternatively, you can install the free Gnu C (gcc) from Free Software Foundation on your Sun workstation to compile pep.
?: Why isn't there a version of pep running on Atari or Macintosh?
!: I would love to have Pep running on Atari machines or on Apple Macintosh. However, I don't myself have access to these machines, which means that I have to depend on others for porting and testing. If you have access to these (or other) platforms, and want to volunter for porting and/or testing, please contact me through email and we'll work something out.
?: Is there a FAQ for pep ver. 2.8?
!: No.


?: Do I have to learn to type in all the cryptic options on the command line to use pep?
!: For the time being, yes. I am working on a GUI front end both for Microsoft Windows'95 and for X.11. Hopefully it will be ready when pep ver. 3.00 is out of beta and in general release.


?: How do I get non-breaking spaces (NBSP) treated as whitespace?
!: First run pep to translate all non-breaking spaces in the file to ordinary spaces. (If your NBSP is encoded according to ISO 8859 -- NBSP = 0xA0 -- you can do this with the standard editor command file nbsp2sp.ed), otherwise, create your own editor command file.) Then re-run pep on the resulting file. NBSP will now be ordinary spaces, and treated identically.
pep -fnbsp2sp.ed < input.txt | pep -rlmt > output.txt

This first converts any NBSP to ordinary space characters, then the result is piped to pep again to remove all superfluous spaces.

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