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  local pipe = assert(io.popen('ls', 'r'))
succeeds, but
  local pipe = assert(io.popen('ls', 'rb'))
  lua: t:2: ls: Invalid argument
(It doesn't complain about 'rb', it complains about 'ls' !?)
The manpage I found says:
  The mode string can also have a 'b' at the end, which is needed
  in some systems to open the file in binary mode. This string
  is exactly what is used in the standard C function fopen.
Surely binary-mode should work, at least in unix ?
Or does it fail as a warning that windows stdout can't ever
do binary, and unix does binary anyway even with just 'r' ?

('ls' is only an example, the app will involve midi.
 I'm using the debian squeeze lua package Lua 5.1.4)

Regards,  Peter Billam      (03) 6278 9410
"Was der Meister nicht kann,   vermöcht es der Knabe, hätt er
 ihm immer gehorcht?"   Siegfried to Mime, from Act 1 Scene 2