Why does this SED example work?

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# 1  
Why does this SED example work?

$ x="/home/guru/temp/f1.txt"
$ echo $x | sed 's^.*/^^'

This will give the absolute path f1.txt. I don't understand WHY it works. How is it determining the last "/" character exactly?
# 2  
After 231 posts, you must realise that there is some variation in unix/Linux/Shell.
Please post what Operating System and version your are running and what Shell you use.

I would advise all other posters to not respond until the O/P provides proper context.
# 3  
Post withdrawn...Smilie

Last edited by elixir_sinari; 07-05-2012 at 06:25 PM..
# 4  
BSD Sed, OS X 10.6.8 (Mac). Sorry.

Last edited by methyl; 07-05-2012 at 07:32 PM..
# 5  
This is going to need a sed expert. Anybody out there?

Personally I would use the unix basename command and be sure how it worked. Others may differ.
# 6  
It takes advantage of the greedy matching characteristic of sed, which means that it will try to find the longest match possible.. So in this case the longest match to .*/ is /home/guru/temp/, so it will replace that with nothing, since the replacement part contains nothing.

The ^ plays no role, here other than that it is the character that delimits the match part and the replacement part. Normally forward slashes (/) are used for this but it can be almost any character. So instead, one could have used sed 's|.*/||' or s'=.*==', for example.

If your scope is a single variable, than a more effective method is to use basename, as methyl suggests or to use variable expansion:
echo "${x##*/}"

This User Gave Thanks to Scrutinizer For This Post:
# 7  
Greedy matching, perfect. Is this characteristic of all Sed versions? How do you determine this regex behavior of a particular command, such as Sed or any other?

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