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Re: tab as sort's field-separator

From: Andrew D Jewell
Subject: Re: tab as sort's field-separator
Date: Sun, 16 Jun 2002 09:30:37 -0400

What you've got here is a shell problem, not a sort problem.

Although I'm sure I've done it in the past, I can't at the moment figure out how to make it happen in tcsh.

One option is to grab the improved textutils from
where all field based tools have '--dt' to specify what you want, as part of the Alexa standard :

      --dw       shortcut for the inexpressible --delimiter=WHITESPACE
      --dz       shortcut for --delimiter=ZERO
      --ds       shortcut for --delimiter=SPACE
      --dt       shortcut for --delimiter=TAB
      --De       shortcut for inexpressible --output-delimiter=EMPTY
      --Dz       shortcut for --output-delimiter=ZERO
      --Ds       shortcut for --output-delimiter=SPACE
      --Dt       shortcut for --output-delimiter=TAB

I supposed some sort of tcsh command of the form
/bin/bash -c 'that sort command that wors in bash'
might work.


At 2:26 AM -0400 6/15/02, Jim Fohlin wrote:

It appears that one can't specify just a tab (a tab and only a tab) as
sort's field-separator.  As shown below, the UNIX example does it
right whereas the Linux example fails.

Is this a bug/limitation or did I miss the correct way to do this?

I can work around this in bash using:
        TAB=`echo -e "\t"`
        sort -t"$TAB" ...

but this trick doesn't work with tcsh using:
        setenv TAB `/bin/echo -e "\t"`

Must be the different way expressions are expanded with quotes in the
two shells.


$ cat /tmp/x
2       x, a1
2       x, b
1       x, a2

NB: Each line consists of <digit><tab>x,<space><letter><optionaldigit>


RH 7.2, textutils-2.0.14-2

$ sort -t'\t' -u -k2,2 -k1,1 /tmp/x
sort: multi-character tab `\t'


Compaq Tru64 UNIX V5.1 (Rev. 732)

% sort -t'\t' -u -k2,2 -k1,1 /tmp/x
2       x, a1
1       x, a2
2       x, b


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