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will check if the last byte of filename is a unix newline character. tail -c1 yields the file's last byte and xxd converts it to hex format.
There are 2 alternatives - vote for the best!
tail -c 1 "$1" returns the last byte in the file.
Command substitution deletes any trailing newlines, so if the file ended in a newline $(tail -c 1 "$1") is now empty, and the -z test succeeds.
However, $a will also be empty for an empty file, so we add -s "$1" to check that the file has a size greater than zero.
Finally, -f "$1" checks that the file is a regular file -- not a directory or a socket, etc.
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