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UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition

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UNIX Commands
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sort [options] [files]

Sort the lines of the named files, typically in alphabetical order. See also uniq, comm, join.



Ignore leading spaces and tabs.


Check whether files are already sorted, and if so, produce no output.


Sort in dictionary order (ignore punctuation).


"Fold"; ignore uppercase/lowercase differences.


Ignore nonprinting characters (those outside ASCII range 040-176).


Merge sorted input files.


Compare first three characters as months.


Sort in arithmetic order.


Put output in file.


Reverse the order of the sort.


Fields are separated with c (default is any white space).


Identical lines in input file appear only one (unique) time in output.


Adjust the amount of memory (in kilobytes) sort uses. If kmem is not specified, allocate the maximum memory.


Provide the maximum number of bytes for any one line in the file. This option prevents abnormal termination of sort in certain cases.

+n [-m]

Skip n fields before sorting, and sort up to field position m. If m is missing, sort to end of line. Positions take the form a.b, which means character b of field a. If .b is missing, sort at the first character of the field.


List files by decreasing number of lines:

wc -l * | sort -r

Alphabetize a list of words, remove duplicates, and print the frequency of each word:

sort -fd wordlist | uniq -c

Sort the password file numerically by the third field (user ID):

sort +2n -t: /etc/passwd

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