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Linux 2.6 - man page for wc (linux section 1posix)

WC(P)				    POSIX Programmer's Manual				    WC(P)

NAME
       wc - word, line, and byte or character count

SYNOPSIS
       wc [-c|-m][-lw][file...]

DESCRIPTION
       The  wc	utility  shall	read one or more input files and, by default, write the number of
       <newline>s, words, and bytes contained in each input file to the standard output.

       The utility also shall write a total count for all named files, if  more  than  one  input
       file is specified.

       The  wc	utility shall consider a word to be a non-zero-length string of characters delim-
       ited by white space.

OPTIONS
       The wc utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001,  Sec-
       tion 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines.

       The following options shall be supported:

       -c     Write to the standard output the number of bytes in each input file.

       -l     Write to the standard output the number of <newline>s in each input file.

       -m     Write to the standard output the number of characters in each input file.

       -w     Write to the standard output the number of words in each input file.

       When any option is specified, wc shall report only the information requested by the speci-
       fied options.

OPERANDS
       The following operand shall be supported:

       file   A pathname of an input file. If no file operands are specified, the standard  input
	      shall be used.

STDIN
       The  standard  input  shall  be used only if no file operands are specified. See the INPUT
       FILES section.

INPUT FILES
       The input files may be of any type.

ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES
       The following environment variables shall affect the execution of wc:

       LANG   Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that  are	unset  or
	      null. (See the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 8.2, Inter-
	      nationalization Variables for the precedence of internationalization variables used
	      to determine the values of locale categories.)

       LC_ALL If  set  to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other interna-
	      tionalization variables.

       LC_CTYPE
	      Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text  data  as
	      characters  (for	example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in argu-
	      ments and input files) and which characters are defined as white space characters.

       LC_MESSAGES
	      Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of diag-
	      nostic messages written to standard error and informative messages written to stan-
	      dard output.

       NLSPATH
	      Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES .

ASYNCHRONOUS EVENTS
       Default.

STDOUT
       By default, the standard output shall contain an entry for each input file of the form:

	      "%d %d %d %s\n", <newlines>, <words>, <bytes>, <file>

       If the -m option is specified, the number of characters shall replace the <bytes> field in
       this format.

       If  any options are specified and the -l option is not specified, the number of <newline>s
       shall not be written.

       If any options are specified and the -w option is not specified, the number of words shall
       not be written.

       If  any	options  are specified and neither -c nor -m is specified, the number of bytes or
       characters shall not be written.

       If no input file operands are specified, no name shall be written and no <blank>s  preced-
       ing the pathname shall be written.

       If  more than one input file operand is specified, an additional line shall be written, of
       the same format as the other lines, except that the word total (in the POSIX locale) shall
       be  written  instead of a pathname and the total of each column shall be written as appro-
       priate. Such an additional line, if any, is written at the end of the output.

STDERR
       The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.

OUTPUT FILES
       None.

EXTENDED DESCRIPTION
       None.

EXIT STATUS
       The following exit values shall be returned:

	0     Successful completion.

       >0     An error occurred.

CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS
       Default.

       The following sections are informative.

APPLICATION USAGE
       The -m option is not a switch, but an option at the same level as -c. Thus, to produce the
       full default output with character counts instead of bytes, the command required is:

	      wc -mlw

EXAMPLES
       None.

RATIONALE
       The output file format pseudo- printf() string differs from the System V version of wc:

	      "%7d%7d%7d %s\n"

       which  produces	possibly  ambiguous  and  unparsable  results for very large files, as it
       assumes no number shall exceed six digits.

       Some historical implementations use only <space>, <tab>, and <newline> as word separators.
       The equivalent of the ISO C standard isspace() function is more appropriate.

       The  -c	option stands for "character" count, even though it counts bytes. This stems from
       the sometimes erroneous historical view that bytes and characters are the same  size.  Due
       to  international  requirements,  the -m option (reminiscent of "multi-byte") was added to
       obtain actual character counts.

       Early proposals only specified the results when input files were text files.  The  current
       specification  more closely matches historical practice. (Bytes, words, and <newline>s are
       counted separately and the results are written when an end-of-file is detected.)

       Historical implementations of the wc utility only accepted one  argument  to  specify  the
       options	-c, -l, and -w. Some of them also had multiple occurrences of an option cause the
       corresponding count to be written multiple times and had the order of specification of the
       options	affect	the  order of the fields on output, but did not document either of these.
       Because common usage either specifies no options or only one option, and because  none  of
       this  was  documented,  the changes required by this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 should
       not break many historical applications (and do not break any historical conforming  appli-
       cations).

FUTURE DIRECTIONS
       None.

SEE ALSO
       cksum

COPYRIGHT
       Portions  of  this  text  are  reprinted  and  reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std
       1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technology  --  Portable	Operating  System
       Interface  (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by
       the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and  The  Open  Group.  In  the
       event  of  any  discrepancy  between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group
       Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The orig-
       inal Standard can be obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .

IEEE/The Open Group			       2003					    WC(P)


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