colltbl - create collation database
colltbl [ file | - ]
The colltbl command takes as input a specification file, file, that
describes the collating sequence for a particular language and creates a
database that can be read by strxfrmtrcmp(3C), strncmp(3C),
or memcmp(3C). strcoll(3C) transforms its arguments and does a
If no input file is supplied, stdin is read.
The output file produced contains the database with collating sequence
information in a form usable by system commands and routines. The name
of this output file is the value you assign to the keyword codeset read
in from file. Before this file can be used, it must be installed in the
/usr/lib/locale/locale directory with the name LC_COLLATE by someone who
is super-user or a member of group bin. locale corresponds to the
language area whose collation sequence is described in file. This file
must be readable by user, group, and other; no other permissions should
be set. To use the collating sequence information in this file, set the
LC_COLLATE environment variable appropriately [see environ(5) or
The colltbl command can support languages whose collating sequence can be
completely described by the following cases:
o Ordering of single characters within the code set. For example, in
Swedish, V is sorted after U, before X, and with W (V and W are
considered identical as far as sorting is concerned).
o Ordering of ``double characters'' in the collation sequence. For
example, in Spanish, ch and ll are collated after c and l,
o Ordering of a single character as if it consists of two characters.
For example, in German, the ``sharp s,'' B, is sorted as ss. This is
a special instance of the next case below.
o Substitution of one character string with another character string.
In the example above, the string B is replaced with ss during
o Ignoring certain characters in the code set during collation. For
example, if - were ignored during collation, then the strings
re-locate and relocate would compare as equal.
o Secondary ordering between characters. In the case where two
characters are sorted together in the collation sequence, (that is,
they have the same "primary" ordering), there is sometimes a
secondary ordering that is used if two strings are identical except
for characters that have the same primary ordering. For example, in
French, the letters e and e have the same primary ordering but e
comes before e in the secondary ordering. Thus the word lever would
be ordered before lever, but lever would be sorted before levitate.
(Note that if e came before e in the primary ordering, then lever
would be sorted after levitate.)
The specification file consists of three types of statements:
1. codeset filename
filename is the name of the output file to be created by colltbl.
2. order is order_list
order_list is a list of symbols, separated by semicolons, that
defines the collating sequence. The special symbol, ..., specifies
symbols that are lexically sequential in a short-hand form. For
order is a;b;c;d;...;x;y;z
would specify the list of lowercase letters. Of course, this could
be further compressed to just a;...;z.
A symbol can be up to two bytes in length and can be represented in
any one of the following ways:
o the symbol itself (for example, a for the lowercase letter a),
o in octal representation (for example, \141 or 0141 for the letter
o in hexadecimal representation (for example, \x61 or 0x61 for the
Any combination of these may be used as well.
The backslash character, \ , is used for continuation. No characters
are permitted after the backslash character.
Symbols enclosed in parentheses are assigned the same primary
ordering but different secondary ordering. Symbols enclosed in curly
brackets are assigned only the same primary ordering. For example,
order is a;b;c;ch;d;(e;e);f;...;z;\
In the above example, e and e are assigned the same primary ordering
and different secondary ordering, digits 1 through 9 are assigned the
same primary ordering and no secondary ordering. Only primary
ordering is assigned to the remaining symbols. Notice how double
letters can be specified in the collating sequence (letter ch comes
between c and d).
If a character is not included in the order is statement, it is
excluded from the ordering and will be ignored during sorting.
3. substitute string <b>with repl
The substitute statement substitutes the string string with the
string repl. This can be used, for example, to provide rules to sort
the abbreviated month names numerically:
substitute "Jan" with "01"
substitute "Feb" with "02"
substitute "Dec" with "12"
A simpler use of the substitute statement would be to substitute a
single character with two characters, as with the substitution of B
with ss in German.
The substitute statement is optional. The order is and codeset
statements must appear in the specification file.
Any lines in the specification file with a # in the first column are
treated as comments and are ignored. Empty lines are also ignored.
The following example shows the collation specification required to
support a hypothetical telephone book sorting sequence.
The sorting sequence is defined by the following rules:
a.Upper- and lowercase letters must be sorted together, but uppercase
letters have precedence over lowercase letters.
b.All special characters and punctuation should be ignored.
c.Digits must be sorted as their alphabetic counterparts (for example, 0
as zero, 1 as one).
d.The Ch, ch, CH combinations must be collated between C and D.
e.V and W, v and w must be collated together.
The input specification file to colltbl will contain:
order is A;a;B;b;C;c;CH;Ch;ch;D;d;E;e;F;f;\
substitute "0" with "zero"
substitute "1" with "one"
substitute "2" with "two"
substitute "3" with "three"
substitute "4" with "four"
substitute "5" with "five"
substitute "6" with "six"
substitute "7" with "seven"
substitute "8" with "eight"
substitute "9" with "nine"
LC_COLLATE database for locale
input file used to construct LC_COLLATE in the default
memory(3C), setlocale(3C), strcoll(3C), string(3C), strxfrm(3C),
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