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Ubuntu Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for Power Users, 2nd Edition by Christopher Negus

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5

Manipulating Text

IN THIS CHAPTER

Matching text with regular expressions

Editing text files with vi, JOE, or nano

Using graphical text editors

Listing text with cat, head, and tail

Paging text with less and more

Paginating text with pr

Searching for text with grep

Counting words, lines, and characters with wc

Sorting output with sort

Stream editing with sed, tr, cut, and awk

Searching binaries for text with strings

Finding differences in files with diff

Converting text files with unix2dos/dos2unix

With only a shell available on the first UNIX systems (on which Linux was based), using those systems meant dealing primarily with commands and plain text files. Documents, program code, configuration files, e-mail, and almost anything you created or configured was represented by text files. To work with those files, early developers created many text manipulation tools.

Despite having graphical tools for working with text, most seasoned Linux users find command line tools to be more efficient and convenient. Text editors such as vi (vim), Emacs, JOE, nano, and Pico are available with most Linux distributions. Commands such as grep, sed, and awk can be used to find, and possibly change, pieces of information within text files.

This chapter shows you how to use many popular commands for working with text files in Ubuntu. It also explores some of the less common uses of text manipulation commands that you might find interesting.

Matching Text with Regular Expressions

Many of the tools ...

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