In article <op.ug6ubske9245dp / kool>,
  "Michael Selig" <michael.selig / fs.com.au> writes:

> Yes, I know you can use that. I was just questioning whether it makes  
> sense for Ruby to stick with "b" meaning simply the newline & end of file  
> handling, without changing the character handling also. I felt that it  
> makes much more sense that IO#readchar (et al) return bytes when the file  
> is opened with "b". That behaviour may also be more backward compatible  
> with 1.8.

If you need to work with bytes, IO#getbyte can be used.

"b" is not required.
-- 
Tanaka Akira