0

I am quoting from a work complex to quote from. Consider the following example:

\documentclass[10pt,a4paper]{article} % KOMA-Script article scrartcl
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[american]{babel}

\usepackage[backend=biber,
            bibencoding=utf8,   % instead of bibtex
            language=auto,%
            style=uni-wtal-ger, % verbose-trad1,%numeric-comp,%
            sorting=nyt,        % name, year, title
            maxbibnames=10,     % default: 3, et al.
            natbib=true,        % natbib compatibility mode (\citep and \citet still work)
            idembib=false]{biblatex}

\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\begin{filecontents*}{example.bib}
    @incollection{al-farabiEnumerationSciences1963,
        title = {The {{Enumeration}} of the {{Sciences}}},
        booktitle = {Medieval {{Political Philosophy}} -- a {{Sourcebook}}},
        author = {al- Farabi},
        editor = {Lerner, Ralph and Mahdī, Muḥsin},
        date = {1963},
        pages = {22--30},
        publisher = {{Collier-Macmillan}},
        location = {{Toronto}},
        editora = {Fortin, Ernest L.},
        editoratype = {collaborator},
        editorb = {Bloom, Allan},
        editorbtype = {redactor},
        options = {useprefix=true},
        series = {Medieval {{Political Philosophy}}},
        translator = {Najjar, Fauzi M.}
    }
@preamble{ "\ifdefined\DeclarePrefChars\DeclarePrefChars{'’-}\else\fi " }
\end{filecontents*}
\addbibresource{example.bib}

\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{02BC}{'}
\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{02BF}{\Ayn}
\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{02D2}{\Alif}
\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{1E0F}{\b{d}}
\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{1E0D}{\d{d}}
\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{02D3}{\Ayn}
\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{1E63}{\d{s}}
\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{1E24}{\d{H}}
\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{1E25}{\d{h}}
\DeclareUnicodeCharacter{0101}{\={a}}

\begin{document}
    \cite{al-farabiEnumerationSciences1963}
    \printbibliography[]
\end{document}

Unfortunately, biber crashes when compiling this file. It gives the following report:

INFO - This is Biber 2.9
INFO - Logfile is 'example.blg'
INFO - Reading 'example.bcf'
INFO - Found 1 citekeys in bib section 0
INFO - Processing section 0
INFO - Looking for bibtex format file 'example.bib' for section 0
INFO - LaTeX decoding ...
INFO - Found BibTeX data source 'example.bib'
FATAL - Caught signal: SEGV
Likely your .bib has a very bad entry which causes libbtparse to crash: Inappropriate ioctl for device

The exact same file works perfectly when removing the example entry and replacing it by some other entry. What am I overlooking, how can I make this work again? Why is that entry "very bad"?

P.S.: I do realize that the package for \Ayn and for \Alif are missing in the preamble, but this is not the case in the original document and not causing this issue.

1

As mentioned before, the example compiles fine with a current version of biblatex and Biber (I tested with Biber v2.16 on my machine as well as with Overleaf's TeX Live 2019 and 2020, which run Biber v2.13 and v2.14, respectively.)

The problem is related to the al- Farabi in the author field. The following example should compile fine even with older versions of Biber

@incollection{al-farabiEnumerationSciences1963,
  title       = {The Enumeration of the Sciences},
  booktitle   = {Medieval Political Philosophy -- a Sourcebook},
  author      = {al-Farabi},
  editor      = {Lerner, Ralph and Mahdī, Muḥsin},
  date        = {1963},
  pages       = {22--30},
  publisher   = {{Collier-Macmillan}},
  location    = {{Toronto}},
  editora     = {Fortin, Ernest L.},
  editoratype = {collaborator},
  editorb     = {Bloom, Allan},
  editorbtype = {redactor},
  options     = {useprefix=true},
  series      = {Medieval Political Philosophy},
  translator  = {Najjar, Fauzi M.}
}

The underlying issue is discussed in https://github.com/plk/biber/issues/87 and was fixed (completely) in Biber 2.13.

4

I cannot reproduce the issue. Your example complies fine and yields the following picture:

enter image description here

The message from Biber seems OK, too:

INFO - This is Biber 2.16
INFO - Logfile is 'a.blg'
INFO - Reading 'a.bcf'
INFO - Found 1 citekeys in bib section 0
INFO - Processing section 0
INFO - Looking for bibtex format file 'example.bib' for section 0
INFO - LaTeX decoding ...
INFO - Found BibTeX data source 'example.bib'
INFO - Overriding locale 'en-US' defaults 'normalization = NFD' with 'normalization = prenormalized'
INFO - Overriding locale 'en-US' defaults 'variable = shifted' with 'variable = non-ignorable'
INFO - Sorting list 'nyt/global//global/global' of type 'entry' with template 'nyt' and locale 'en-US'
INFO - No sort tailoring available for locale 'en-US'
INFO - Writing 'a.bbl' with encoding 'UTF-8'
INFO - Output to a.bbl

You might want to upgrade your TeX distribution to a more recent version.

2
  • Indeed, this seems to be an issue with my installation. Thanks for pointing this out. Unfortunately, I am already running the latest pre-packaged version from the Ubuntu-repositories and don't know how to proceed in updating. For now, I will render this document through overleaf and be done with it.
    – Floris
    Aug 9 at 13:24
  • 2
    @Floris I also use an Ubuntu pre-packaged installation (currently Biber 2.14 on Ubuntu 20.04) and the example runs without problems on my system too. So possibly there is another issue on your system which is not related to the versions as such.
    – Marijn
    Aug 9 at 13:59

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