eight-bit clean definition software
A term which describes a system that deals correctly with extended character sets
which (unlike ASCII) use all eight bits
of a byte
. Many programs and communications systems assume that all characters have codes in the range 0 to 127. This leaves the top bit of each byte free for use as a parity
bit or some kind of flag bit. These assumptions break down when the program is used in some non-english-speaking countries with larger alphabets.
If a binary file is transmitted via a communications link which is not eight-bit clean, it will be corrupted. To combat this you can encode it with uuencode
which uses only ASCII
characters. There are some links however which are not even "seven-bit clean" and cause problems even for uuencoded data.