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OpenSolaris 2009.06 - man page for sort (opensolaris section 1)

sort(1) 				  User Commands 				  sort(1)

       sort - sort, merge, or sequence check text files

       /usr/bin/sort [-bcdfimMnru] [-k keydef] [-o output]
	    [-S kmem] [-t char] [-T directory] [-y [kmem]]
	    [-z recsz] [+pos1 [-pos2]] [file]...

       /usr/xpg4/bin/sort [-bcdfimMnru] [-k keydef] [-o output]
	    [-S kmem] [-t char] [-T directory] [-y [kmem]]
	    [-z recsz] [+pos1 [-pos2]] [file]...

       The  sort command sorts lines of all the named files together and writes the result on the
       standard output.

       Comparisons are based on one or more sort keys extracted  from  each  line  of  input.  By
       default,  there is one sort key, the entire input line. Lines are ordered according to the
       collating sequence of the current locale.

       The following options alter the default behavior:

       -c    Checks that the single input file is ordered as specified by the arguments  and  the
	     collating sequence of the current locale. The exit code is set and no output is pro-
	     duced unless the file is out of sort.

       -c	       Same as /usr/bin/sort except no	output	is  produced  under  any  circum-

       -m	       Merges only. The input files are assumed to be already sorted.

       -o output       Specifies  the  name  of an output file to be used instead of the standard
		       output. This file can be the same as one of the input files.

       -S kmem	       Specifies the maximum amount of swap-based memory  used	for  sorting,  in
		       kilobytes  (the	default  unit).  kmem can also be specified directly as a
		       number of bytes (b), kilobytes (k), megabytes (m), gigabytes (g), or  ter-
		       abytes (t); or as a percentage (%) of the installed physical memory.

       -T directory    Specifies the directory in which to place temporary files.

       -u	       Unique:	suppresses all but one in each set of lines having equal keys. If
		       used with the -c option, checks that there are  no  lines  with	duplicate
		       keys in addition to checking that the input file is sorted.

       -y kmem	       (obsolete). This option was used to specify the amount of main memory ini-
		       tially used by sort. Its functionality is not appropriate  for  a  virtual
		       memory system; memory usage for sort is now specified using the -S option.

       -z recsz        (obsolete).  This  option  was  used  to prevent abnormal termination when
		       lines longer than the system-dependent default  buffer  size  are  encoun-
		       tered.  Because	sort automatically allocates buffers large enough to hold
		       the longest line, this option has no effect.

   Ordering Options
       The default sort order depends on the value of LC_COLLATE. If  LC_COLLATE  is  set  to  C,
       sorting	is  in	ASCII  order.  If LC_COLLATE is set to en_US, sorting is case insensitive
       except when the two strings are otherwise equal and one has an  uppercase  letter  earlier
       than the other. Other locales have other sort orders.

       The  following  options	override the default ordering rules. When ordering options appear
       independent of any key field  specifications,  the  requested  field  ordering  rules  are
       applied globally to all sort keys. When attached to a specific key (see Sort Key Options),
       the specified ordering options override all global ordering options for that key.  In  the
       obsolescent forms, if one or more of these options follows a +pos1 option, it affects only
       the key field specified by that preceding option.

       -d    Dictionary order: only letters, digits, and blanks (spaces and tabs) are significant
	     in comparisons.

       -f    Folds lower-case letters into upper case.

       -i    Ignores non-printable characters.

       -M    Compares  as months. The first three non-blank characters of the field are folded to
	     upper case and compared. For example, in English the sorting order is "JAN" <  "FEB"
	     <	...  <	"DEC".	Invalid fields compare low to "JAN". The -M option implies the -b
	     option (see below).

       -n    Restricts the sort key to an initial numeric string, consisting  of  optional  blank
	     characters,  optional  minus  sign,  and  zero or more digits with an optional radix
	     character and thousands separators (as defined in	the  current  locale),	which  is
	     sorted by arithmetic value.  An empty digit string is treated as zero. Leading zeros
	     and signs on zeros do not affect ordering.

       -r    Reverses the sense of comparisons.

   Field Separator Options
       The treatment of field separators can be altered using the following options:

       -b	  Ignores leading blank characters when determining the starting and ending posi-
		  tions  of a restricted sort key. If the -b option is specified before the first
		  sort key option, it is applied to all  sort  key  options.  Otherwise,  the  -b
		  option  can  be  attached  independently  to each -k field_start, field_end, or
		  +pos1 or -pos2 option-argument (see below).

       -t char	  Use char as the field separator character. char is not considered to be part of
		  a  field  (although it can be included in a sort key).  Each occurrence of char
		  is significant (for example, <char><char> delimits an empty field).  If  -t  is
		  not specified, blank characters are used as default field separators; each max-
		  imal non-empty sequence of blank characters that follows a non-blank	character
		  is a field separator.

   Sort Key Options
       Sort keys can be specified using the options:

       -k keydef	  The keydef argument is a restricted sort key field definition. The for-
			  mat of this definition is:

			    -k field_start [type] [,field_end [type] ]


			  field_start and field_end

			      define a key field restricted to a portion of the line.


			      is a modifier from the list of characters bdfiMnr. The  b  modifier
			      behaves  like the -b option, but applies only to the field_start or
			      field_end to which it is attached and characters within a field are
			      counted  from  the  first  non-blank  character in the field. (This
			      applies separately  to  first_character  and  last_character.)  The
			      other  modifiers	behave	like the corresponding options, but apply
			      only to the key field to which they are attached.  They  have  this
			      effect  if  specified  with field_start, field_end or both.  If any
			      modifier is attached to a field_start or to a field_end, no  option
			      applies to either.

			  When	there are multiple key fields, later keys are compared only after
			  all earlier keys compare equal. Except when the -u option is specified,
			  lines  that  otherwise  compare  equal  are  ordered	as if none of the
			  options -d, -f, -i, -n or -k were present (but with -r still in effect,
			  if it was specified) and with all bytes in the lines significant to the

			  The notation:

			    -k field_start[type][,field_end[type]]

			  defines a key field that begins at field_start and  ends  at	field_end
			  inclusive, unless field_start falls beyond the end of the line or after
			  field_end, in which case the key field is empty.  A  missing	field_end
			  means the last character of the line.

			  A  field comprises a maximal sequence of non-separating characters and,
			  in the absence of option -t, any preceding field separator.

			  The field_start portion of the keydef option-argument has the form:


			  Fields and characters within	fields	are  numbered  starting  with  1.
			  field_number and first_character, interpreted as positive decimal inte-
			  gers, specify the first character to be used as part of a sort key.  If
			  .first_character  is	omitted,  it refers to the first character of the

			  The field_end portion of the keydef option-argument has the form:


			  The field_number is as described above for field_start. last_character,
			  interpreted as a non-negative decimal integer, specifies the last char-
			  acter to be used as part of the sort key. If	last_character	evaluates
			  to  zero or .last_character is omitted, it refers to the last character
			  of the field specified by field_number.

			  If the -b option or b type modifier is in effect, characters	within	a
			  field  are  counted  from  the  first non-blank character in the field.
			  (This applies separately to first_character and last_character.)

       [+pos1 [-pos2]]	  (obsolete). Provide functionality equivalent to the -kkeydef option.

			  pos1 and pos2 each have the form m.n optionally followed by one or more
			  of  the  flags bdfiMnr. A starting position specified by +m.n is inter-
			  preted to mean the n+1st character in the m+1st  field.  A  missing  .n
			  means  .0,  indicating the first character of the m+1st field. If the b
			  flag is in effect n is counted from the first non-blank  in  the  m+1st
			  field;  +m.0b  refers  to  the  first  non-blank character in the m+1st

			  A last position specified by -m.n is interpreted to mean the nth  char-
			  acter (including separators) after the last character of the mth field.
			  A missing .n means .0, indicating the last character of the mth  field.
			  If  the b flag is in effect n is counted from the last leading blank in
			  the m+1st field; -m.1b refers to  the  first	non-blank  in  the  m+1st

			  The fully specified +pos1 -pos2 form with type modifiers T and U:

			    +w.xT -y.zU

			  is equivalent to:

			    undefined (z==0 & U contains b & -t is present)
			    -k w+1.x+1T,y.0U	 (z==0 otherwise)
			    -k w+1.x+1T,y+1.zU	 (z > 0)

			  Implementations support at least nine occurrences of the sort keys (the
			  -k option and obsolescent +pos1 and -pos2)  which  are  significant  in
			  command  line order. If no sort key is specified, a default sort key of
			  the entire line is used.

       The following operand is supported:

       file    A path name of a file to be sorted, merged or checked. If  no  file  operands  are
	       specified, or if a file operand is -, the standard input is used.

       See  largefile(5)  for  the  description  of  the behavior of sort when encountering files
       greater than or equal to 2 Gbyte ( 2^31 bytes).

       In the following examples, first the preferred and then the  obsolete  way  of  specifying
       sort keys are given as an aid to understanding the relationship between the two forms.

       Example 1 Sorting with the Second Field as a sort Key

       Either of the following commands sorts the contents of infile with the second field as the
       sort key:

	 example% sort -k 2,2 infile
	 example% sort +1 -2 infile

       Example 2 Sorting in Reverse Order

       Either of the following commands sorts, in reverse order,  the  contents  of  infile1  and
       infile2,  placing the output in outfile and using the second character of the second field
       as the sort key (assuming that the first character of the second field is the field  sepa-

	 example% sort -r -o outfile -k 2.2,2.2 infile1 infile2
	 example% sort -r -o outfile +1.1 -1.2 infile1 infile2

       Example 3 Sorting Using a Specified Character in One of the Files

       Either  of the following commands sorts the contents of infile1 and infile2 using the sec-
       ond non-blank character of the second field as the sort key:

	 example% sort -k 2.2b,2.2b infile1 infile2
	 example% sort +1.1b -1.2b infile1 infile2

       Example 4 Sorting by Numeric User ID

       Either of the following commands prints the passwd(4) file (user database) sorted  by  the
       numeric user ID (the third colon-separated field):

	 example% sort -t : -k 3,3n /etc/passwd
	 example% sort -t : +2 -3n /etc/passwd

       Example 5 Printing Sorted Lines Excluding Lines that Duplicate a Field

       Either  of the following commands prints the lines of the already sorted file infile, sup-
       pressing all but one occurrence of lines having the same third field:

	 example% sort -um -k 3.1,3.0 infile
	 example% sort -um +2.0 -3.0 infile

       Example 6 Sorting by Host IP Address

       Either of the following commands prints the hosts(4) file (IPv4 hosts database), sorted by
       the numeric IP address (the first four numeric fields):

	 example$ sort -t . -k 1,1n -k 2,2n -k 3,3n -k 4,4n /etc/hosts
	 example$ sort -t . +0 -1n +1 -2n +2 -3n +3 -4n /etc/hosts

       Since '.' is both the field delimiter and, in many locales, the decimal separator, failure
       to specify both ends of the field leads to results where the second field  is  interpreted
       as a fractional portion of the first, and so forth.

       See  environ(5)	for  descriptions  of the following environment variables that affect the
       execution of sort: LANG, LC_ALL, LC_COLLATE, LC_MESSAGES, and NLSPATH.

       LC_CTYPE      Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of  bytes  of  text
		     data  as  characters  (for  example, single- versus multi-byte characters in
		     arguments and input files) and the behavior of character classification  for
		     the -b, -d, -f, -i and -n options.

       LC_NUMERIC    Determine the locale for the definition of the radix character and thousands
		     separator for the -n option.

       The following exit values are returned:

       0     All input files were output successfully, or -c was specified and the input file was
	     correctly sorted.

       1     Under  the  -c  option,  the  file was not ordered as specified, or if the -c and -u
	     options were both specified, two input lines were found with equal keys.

       >1    An error occurred.

       /var/tmp/stm???	  Temporary files

       See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:

       |      ATTRIBUTE TYPE	     |	    ATTRIBUTE VALUE	   |
       |Availability		     |SUNWesu			   |
       |CSI			     |Enabled			   |

       |      ATTRIBUTE TYPE	     |	    ATTRIBUTE VALUE	   |
       |Availability		     |SUNWxcu4			   |
       |CSI			     |Enabled			   |
       |Interface Stability	     |Standard			   |

       comm(1),   join(1),   uniq(1),	nl_langinfo(3C),   strftime(3C),   hosts(4),   passwd(4),
       attributes(5), environ(5), largefile(5), standards(5)

       Comments  and exits with non-zero status for various trouble conditions (for example, when
       input lines are too long), and for disorders discovered under the -c option.

       When the last line of an input file is missing a new-line  character,  sort  appends  one,
       prints a warning message, and continues.

       sort does not guarantee preservation of relative line ordering on equal keys.

       One  can  tune  sort performance for a specific scenario using the -S option. However, one
       should note in particular that sort has greater knowledge of how to use a finite amount of
       memory  for  sorting  than  the	virtual memory system. Thus, a sort invoked to request an
       extremely large amount of memory via the -S option could perform extremely poorly.

       As noted, certain of the field modifiers (such as -M and -d) cause the  interpretation  of
       input  data  to	be  done  with reference to locale-specific settings. The results of this
       interpretation can be unexpected if one's expectations are not aligned  with  the  conven-
       tions  established  by the locale. In the case of the month keys, sort does not attempt to
       compensate for approximate month  abbreviations.  The  precise  month  abbreviations  from
       nl_langinfo(3C)	or strftime(3C) are the only ones recognized. For printable or dictionary
       order, if these concepts are not well-defined by the locale, an empty sort  key	might  be
       the  result,  leading to the next key being the significant one for determining the appro-
       priate ordering.

SunOS 5.11				   19 Nov 2001					  sort(1)

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