Full Discussion: compare the similar files
Top Forums Shell Programming and Scripting compare the similar files Post 302432337 by a_programmer on Thursday 24th of June 2010 08:13:06 PM
Old 06-24-2010
you can use
diff -w file1 file2

to ignore all the whitespace differences.
That will not take care of the unprintable characters though.

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bdiff(1)						      General Commands Manual							  bdiff(1)

bdiff - Finds differences in large files SYNOPSIS
bdiff file1 file2 [number] [-s] bdiff - file2 [number] [-s] bdiff file1 - [number] [-s] The bdiff command compares file1 and file2 and writes information about their differing lines to standard output. If either filename is - (dash), bdiff reads standard input. OPTIONS
Suppresses error messages. (May either precede or follow the number argument if it is specified.) DESCRIPTION
The bdiff command uses diff to find lines that must be changed in two files to make them identical (see the diff command). Its primary purpose is to permit processing of files that are too large for diff. The bdiff command ignores lines common to the beginning of both files, splits the remainders into sections of number lines, and runs diff on the sections. The output is then processed to make it look as if diff had processed the files whole. If you do not specify number, a system default is used. In some cases, the number you specify or the default number may be too large for diff. If bdiff fails, specify a smaller value for number and try again. Note that because of file segmenting, bdiff does not necessarily find the smallest possible set of file differences. In general, although the output is similar, using bdiff is not the equivalent of using diff. NOTES
The diff command is executed by a child process, generated by forking, and communicates with bdiff through pipes. It should not normally be necessary to use this command, since diff can handle most large files. EXIT STATUS
No differences. Differences found. An error occurred. SEE ALSO
Commands: diff(1), diff3(1) bdiff(1)

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