ok ... I have an update on this issue: 

so I traced the source file (plctrl.c) from which the warnings are issued and added in some diagnostic statements to assess.

when "cmap0_palette_read" is invoked: cmap0_default.pal is correctly identified and the file is read in and "number_colors" is correctly set to 16
then in the "for" loop to read each entry:
color_info is the second line and the "return character" is removed. 

here something fishy is happening.
before the return character is removed the string length for color_info is "9" (and obviously after removing its "8").  I would think that after removing it should have been 7 which makes things move along just fine and set the appropriate color map palette.

for good measure, I issued an sed command to convert the file from dos-type to unix-type but the outputs did not change. 

I wrote a small program separately to test the same and used the same pal file BUT I get the right outputs in that BEFORE the eol char is removed the string length is 8 and after its 7.

Any ideas?