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Re: Question on re-search-forward and infinite loop

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: Question on re-search-forward and infinite loop
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 2009 18:17:16 -0500
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b3 (Intel Mac OS X)

In article <address@hidden>,
 David Maus <address@hidden> wrote:

> Hi,
> By accident I stumpled on a way to force Emacs in a infinite loop with
> `re-search-forward'.
> If I create a shiny new buffer, insert something like this:
> ,----
> | (while (re-search-forward "^[ \t]*"))
> | Something else
> `----
>  -- go back beyond the while-clause and evaluate it, Emacs enters an
>     infinite loop. As far as I was able to find out
>     `re-search-forward' with this regexp moves point to the beginning
>     of the next line above the "S" of "Something else" and stays there
>     forever so it never reaches end-of-buffer.
> As I dunno much (or better: anything) on Emacs' interiors my question
> is: Why does this happen? 

Your regexp matches zero or more whitespace characters at the beginning 
of a line.  If there's an empty line at the end of the buffer, it will 
match that.  But since it's a zero-length match, point is left at that 
position, and the next time around it again matches it.

In general, whenever a regexp can match a zero-length string, I think 
that type of loop will go infinitely.

Barry Margolin, address@hidden
Arlington, MA
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