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Old 09-03-2009
If use say "-a 4" this gives you up to 26x26x26x26=456,976 suffix combinations (aaaa-zzzz) which at 5000 records per file comes to 2,284,880,000 maximum input records.

Not sure if I understand your question. If your "-a" value is high enough you don't need to know the number of records in advance.

If you are creating large numbers of files be careful that you have enough inodes in the filesystem (df -i).

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SPLIT(1)						    BSD General Commands Manual 						  SPLIT(1)

split -- split a file into pieces SYNOPSIS
split [-a suffix_length] [-b byte_count[k|m] | -l line_count -n chunk_count] [file [name]] DESCRIPTION
The split utility reads the given file and breaks it up into files of 1000 lines each. If file is a single dash or absent, split reads from the standard input. file itself is not altered. The options are as follows: -a Use suffix_length letters to form the suffix of the file name. -b Create smaller files byte_count bytes in length. If 'k' is appended to the number, the file is split into byte_count kilobyte pieces. If 'm' is appended to the number, the file is split into byte_count megabyte pieces. -l Create smaller files line_count lines in length. -n Split file into chunk_count smaller files. If additional arguments are specified, the first is used as the name of the input file which is to be split. If a second additional argument is specified, it is used as a prefix for the names of the files into which the file is split. In this case, each file into which the file is split is named by the prefix followed by a lexically ordered suffix using suffix_length characters in the range ``a-z''. If -a is not speci- fied, two letters are used as the suffix. If the name argument is not specified, 'x' is used. STANDARDS
The split utility conforms to IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (``POSIX.1''). HISTORY
A split command appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX. The -a option was introduced in NetBSD 2.0. Before that, if name was not specified, split would vary the first letter of the filename to increase the number of possible output files. The -a option makes this unnecessary. BSD
May 28, 2007 BSD

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