but that will only come into play if $base_url is somehow special. if it's a plane jane variable, then there's no reason for anything to affect such simple code whereby a variable is assigned and immediately printed.
the hardest line to type correctly is: stty erase ^H
I don't think that is what I said. If I understand you correctly, your user behind the proxy is seeing this behavior. If no one else is seeing this behavior, I would be more likely to check out what is unique with that environment first.
Since that user is behind a proxy that has the capability to rewrite urls so that they are directed back to a port on the proxy server, I would guess that the probability is quite high that this setting is active on his proxy server.
What I am guessing is happening is this:
You are sending the value of your $baseurl variable to the user via the EZProxy.
The EZProzy is rewriting your URL to something that refers to the proxy server itself
The user sees the address for the EZProxy instead of your address.