Please consider the following org-mode snippet containing code to call "show tables" on a particular database via a sql code block and to dump out the database via mysqldump using an sh code block

*** Database
:header-args: :engine "mysql" :dbuser "user" :dbpassword "password" :dbhost "" :database "mydb" :var dbuser="user" :var dbpassword="password" :var dbhost="" :var database="mydb"

**** Test connectivity
#+begin_src sql
show tables;


**** Dump schema
#+begin_src sh 
echo mysqldump -u $dbuser -p $dbpassword -h $dbhost $database

: mysqldump -u user^M^M -p password^M^M -h^M^M mydb

You will note that the line that is echoed contains spurious whitespace (line ends by the look of it).

Why is this and how can I make it go away?

If I remove the echo from the sh code block then I get the following error:

mysqldump: Got error: 2005: "Unknown MySQL server host '^M^M' (8)" when trying to connect

So the whitespace is really there. I am running GNU Emacs (x86_64-w64-mingw32) of 2016-05-26 on Windows 10. So it might be a Windows problem - haven't tried it on Linux yet, will do that when I get home from work.

For bonus marks, can someone tell me how to refactor the header_args so that I don't have to declare everything twice (once for SQL language specific headers and once for code block variables)?

Let me know what additional information I should provide as this is my first post.

  • The problem isn't there on emacs 24.5.1 on linux.
    – JeanPierre
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 12:25
  • Thanks for checking. This is happening for me on every header-arg referenced from an sh code block - it's making it difficult to use code blocks effectively.
    – Matt Innes
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


Ok, after much banging my head on this, I think I've worked it out. The spurious ^M characters are not as such caused by Emacs specifically but by any Windows program interacting with the Cygwin bash shell (which I am using).

Putting the following into ~/.emacs will tell bash to ignore spurious carriage returns and all my problems go away:

(setenv "SHELLOPTS" "igncr")

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