"How to randomly select lines from a text file"

Post #302720231 by gary_w on Tuesday 23rd of October 2012 04:05:11 PM

For the fun of it here's another way that does not use awk although the awk version will be more efficient. This has the overhead of creating the pipeline repeatedly which should be avoided for good practice. Also I believe the ksh RANDOM built-in has a limit of 32767 that must be considered if the file is large.
$ cat x
## x nbr_of_lines_wanted  filename


((lines_avail=$(wc -l < "$file")+1))

while (( $iterations > 0 )); do
  head -$((${RANDOM} % $lines_avail)) "$file" | tail -1
  (( iterations=$iterations - 1 ))

exit 0

This is actually a good example of how a seemingly simple solution for a small file can end up burning you on performance and system limitations should you need to run it on a much larger file
or a system that may see increased load in the future.
Typically when you see a long command line or pipeline like this being done a large number of times (especially a user-enterable number of times) it should
be a red flag warning that there will most likely be a more efficient way of structuring the program.

Last edited by gary_w; 10-23-2012 at 06:11 PM..
This User Gave Thanks to gary_w For This Post:
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XScreenSaver(1) 					      General Commands Manual						   XScreenSaver(1)

flag - draws a waving flag, containing text or an image SYNOPSIS
flag [-display host:display.screen] [-foreground color] [-background color] [-window] [-root] [-mono] [-install] [-visual visual] [-ncolors integer] [-delay microseconds] [-cycles integer] [-size integer] [-text string] [-font font] [-bitmap xbm-file] DESCRIPTION
The flag program draws a waving flag that contains text or a bitmap. OPTIONS
flag accepts the following options: -window Draw on a newly-created window. This is the default. -root Draw on the root window. -mono If on a color display, pretend we're on a monochrome display. -install Install a private colormap for the window. -visual visual Specify which visual to use. Legal values are the name of a visual class, or the id number (decimal or hex) of a specific visual. -ncolors integer How many colors should be used (if possible). Default 200. -cycles integer -count integer -size integer How large the pixels in the flag should be, from 1 to 8. If this is a negative number, the pixel size is chosen randomly from the range 1 to -size. Default -7. -text text The text to display in the flag. Multiple lines of text are allowed; the lines will be displayed centered atop one another. Default: none. If the text is the magic string "(default)", then the text used will be the local machine name; a newline; and the local OS version. -bitmap xbm-file The bitmap to display in the flag; this must be an XBM file (color XPMs are not allowed.) Default: none. If the bitmap is the magic string "(default)", then the bitmap used will be a charming little picture of J. R. "Bob" Dobbs. If neither -text nor -bitmap are specified, then either the builtin text or the builtin bitmap will be chosen randomly. -font font The font in which to draw the text; the default is "-*-helvetica-bold-r-*-240-*". ENVIRONMENT
DISPLAY to get the default host and display number. XENVIRONMENT to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global resources stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER property. SEE ALSO
X(1), xscreensaver(1), xlock(1) COPYRIGHT
Copyright (C) 1996 Charles Vidal. Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted, pro- vided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear in sup- porting documentation. AUTHOR
Charles Vidal <vidalc@univ-mlv.fr>, 1996. Ability to run standalone or with xscreensaver, and the -text and -bitmap options, added by Jamie Zawinski <jwz@jwz.org>, 24-May-97. X Version 11 24-May-97 XScreenSaver(1)

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