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line eater, the

line eater, the: [USENET] n. 1. 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 is
   still (in mid-1991) occasionally reported to be lurking in some
   mail-to-netnews gateways.  2. See NSA line eater.