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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

     sort - sort or merge text files

SYNOPSIS    [Toc]    [Back]

     sort [-cmubdfinrH] [-t char] [-R char] [-k  field1[,field2]]
...  [-T dir]
          [-o output] [file] ...

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

     The sort utility sorts text files by lines.  Comparisons are
based on one
     or more sort keys extracted from each line of input, and are
     lexicographically.   By default, if keys are not given, sort
regards each
     input line as a single field.

     The options are as follows:

     -c      Check that the single input file is sorted.  If  the
file is not
             sorted, sort produces the appropriate error messages
and exits
             with code 1; otherwise, sort  returns  0.   sort  -c
produces no output,
 except the error messages on stderr.

     -m       Merge  only; the input files are assumed to be presorted.

     -o output
             The argument given is the name of an output file  to
be used instead
  of the standard output.  This file can be the
same as one
             of the input files.

     -T dir  Use dir as the directory for temporary  files.   The
default is the
             contents  of  the  environment  variable  TMPDIR  or
/var/tmp if TMPDIR
             does not exist.

     -u      Unique: suppress all but one in each  set  of  lines
having equal
             keys.   If used with the -c option, check that there
are no lines
             with duplicate keys.

     The following options override the default  ordering  rules.
When ordering
     options  appear independent of key field specifications, the
     field ordering rules are applied globally to all sort  keys.
When attached
  to  a  specific  key  (see -k), the ordering options
override all
     global ordering options for that key.

     -d      Only blank space  and  alphanumeric  characters  are
used in making

     -f       Considers all lowercase characters that have uppercase equivalents
 to be the same for purposes of comparison.

     -i      Ignore all non-printable characters.

     -n      An initial numeric string,  consisting  of  optional
blank space,
             optional  minus  sign,  and zero or more digits (including decimal
             point) is sorted by arithmetic value.  (The  -n  option no longer
             implies the -b option.)

     -r      Reverse the sense of comparisons.

     -H       Use a merge sort instead of a radix sort.  This option should be
             used for files larger than 60Mb.

     The treatment of field separators can be altered using these

     -b       Ignores  leading  blank  space when determining the
start and end of
             a restricted sort key.  A -b option specified before
the first -k
             option  applies  globally to all -k options.  Otherwise, the -b option
 can be attached independently to each field argument of the
             -k  option (see below).  Note that the -b option has
no effect unless
 key fields are specified.

     -t char
             char is used as the field separator character.   The
initial char
             is  not considered to be part of a field when determining key offsets.
  Each occurrence of char is  significant  (for
             ``charchar'' delimits an empty field).  If -t is not
             the default field separator is a sequence of  blankspace characters,
 and consecutive blank spaces do not delimit an
empty field;
             further, the initial blank space is considered  part
of a field
             when determining key offsets.

     -R char
             char  is  used  as  the  record separator character.
This should be
             used with discretion; -R <alphanumeric> usually produces undesirable
  results.  The default record separator is newline.

     -k field1[,field2]
             Designates the starting position,  field1,  and  optional ending position,
  field2,  of a key field.  The -k option replaces the obsolescent
 options +pos1 and -pos2.

     The following operands are available:

     file    The pathname of a file  to  be  sorted,  merged,  or
checked.  If no
             file operands are specified, or if a file operand is
-, the standard
 input is used.

     A field is defined as a maximal sequence of characters other
than the
     field  separator  and record separator (newline by default).
Initial blank
     spaces are included in the field unless -b has  been  specified; the first
     blank  space of a sequence of blank spaces acts as the field
separator and
     is included in the field (unless -t is specified).  For  example, by default
  all  blank spaces at the beginning of a line are considered to be
     part of the first field.

     Fields are specified by the -k field1[,field2] argument.   A
     field2 argument defaults to the end of a line.

     The  arguments field1 and field2 have the form m.n (m,n > 0)
and can be
     followed by one or more of the letters b, d, f, i, n, and r,
which correspond
  to  the  options  discussed above.  A field1 position
specified by m.n
     is interpreted as the nth character from  the  beginning  of
the mth field.
     A  missing  .n  in  field1  means `.1', indicating the first
character of the
     mth field; if the -b option is in effect, n is counted  from
the first
     non-blank  character  in  the  mth field; m.1b refers to the
first non-blank
     character in the mth field.  1.n refers to the nth character
from the beginning
  of the line; if n is greater than the length of the
line, the
     field is taken to be empty.

     A field2 position specified by m.n is interpreted as the nth
     (including separators) of the mth field.  A missing .n indicates the last
     character of the mth field; m = 0 designates the  end  of  a
line.  Thus the
     option  -k v.x,w.y is synonymous with the obsolescent option
     -w-1.y; when y is  omitted,  -k  v.x,w  is  synonymous  with
+v-1.x-1 -w.0.
     The  obsolescent  +pos1 -pos2 option is still supported, except for -w.0b,
     which has no -k equivalent.

     The sort utility shall exit with one of the  following  values:

     0     Normal behavior.
     1     On disorder (or non-uniqueness) with the -c option.
     2     An error occurred.

ENVIRONMENT    [Toc]    [Back]

     TMPDIR       Path  in  which to store temporary files.  Note
that TMPDIR may
                 be overridden by the -T option.

FILES    [Toc]    [Back]

     /var/tmp/sort.*                   default temporary directories
     output#PID                         temporary name for output
if output already

SEE ALSO    [Toc]    [Back]

     comm(1), join(1), uniq(1), radixsort(3)

HISTORY    [Toc]    [Back]

     A sort command appeared in Version 3 AT&T UNIX.

NOTES    [Toc]    [Back]

     sort has no limits on input line length (other than  imposed
by available
     memory) or any restrictions on bytes allowed within lines.

     To  protect  data  sort  -o calls link(2) and unlink(2), and
thus fails on
     protected directories.

     The current sort command uses lexicographic  radix  sorting,
which requires
     that  sort  keys  be  kept in memory (as opposed to previous
versions which
     used quick and merge sorts and did not).   Thus  performance
depends highly
     on  efficient choice of sort keys, and the -b option and the
field2 argument
 of the -k option  should  be  used  whenever  possible.
Similarly, sort
     -k1f is equivalent to sort -f and may take twice as long.

BUGS    [Toc]    [Back]

     To  sort  files  larger than 60Mb, use sort -H; files larger
than 704Mb must
     be sorted in smaller pieces, then merged.

OpenBSD      3.6                           June      6,      1993
[ Back ]
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