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Why do some text editors such as BBEdit and Textmate offer to end your file with a newline (line break)? Why is that important?

Are there any caveats to not ending a file with a line break?

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Some Unix-style text processing commands may produce unexpected behavior if the last line does not end with a newline. For example, wc -l counts the number of lines in a file, but it does so essentially by counting the newline characters, so the last "line" isn't counted. Some other programs also miss the last line if it's not terminated by a newline.

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As another example, if you used cat to combine two files and the last line of the first file did not end with a newline, then the last line of the first file and the first line of the second file would be joined as one line. The Unix convention is that a newline is a line terminator, not a line separator. – garyjohn Jul 27 '11 at 5:10

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