> is there a way to use the scanf to parse a string not knowing how many 
> chars?

I'd still use Regexp.

line="Client=MPEG-4,390000,700000,24000"
val1,val2,val3,val4,val5 = 
/^(\w*)=([^,]*),(\d*),(\d*),(\d*)/.match(line).captures

Another way:

def handle_line(v1,v2,v3,v4,v5)
  puts "I got it! #{v1} etc"
end
...
if /^(\w*)=([^,]*),(\d*),(\d*),(\d*)/ =~ line
  handle_line(*$~.captures)
end
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