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About the Second Edition

Since this book was first published in 1990, it has become one of the most fundamental of the O'Reilly & Associates Nutshell Handbooks. Three important events occurred after it was written. The first was the publication of the POSIX standard for sed, and more importantly for awk. The second (perhaps due to the first) was the widespread availability of some version or other of new awk on all modern UNIX systems, both commercial ones and the freely available UNIX-like systems such as NetBSD, FreeBSD, and Linux. The third was the source code availability of GNU sed, and three versions of awk, instead of just gawk.

For these and other reasons, O'Reilly & Associates decided that this handbook needed to be updated. The goals of the revision were to keep the flavor of the book intact ("if it ain't broke, don't fix it"), reorient the awk part of the book around POSIX awk, correct mistakes, and bring the book up to date.

I would like to thank Gigi Estabrook, Chris Reilley, and Lenny Muellner of O'Reilly & Associates for their help, Marc Vauclair, the French translator of the first edition, for many helpful comments, and John Dzubera for his comments on the first edition. Michael Brennan, Henry Spencer, and Ozan Yigit acted as technical reviewers for this edition, and I would like to thank them for their input. Ozan Yigit, in particular, deserves extra thanks for forcing me to be very rigorous in my testing. Pat Thompson of Thompson Automation Software graciously provided an evaluation copy of tawk for review in this book. Richard Montgomery of Videosoft provided me with information about VSAwk.

The following people provided the scripts in Chapter 13 : Jon L. Bentley, Tom Christiansen, Geoff Clare, Roger A. Cornelius, Rahul Dhesi, Nick Holloway, Norman Joseph, Wes Morgan, Tom Van Raalte, and Martin Weitzel. Their contributions are gratefully acknowledged.

Thanks also to the staff at O'Reilly & Associates. Nicole Gipson Arigo was the production editor and project manager. David Sewell was the copyeditor, and Clairemarie Fisher O'Leary proofread the book. Jane Ellin and Sheryl Avruch performed quality control checks. Seth Maislin wrote the index. Erik Ray, Ellen Siever, and Lenny Muellner worked with the tools to create the book. Chris Reilley fine-tuned the figures. Nancy Priest and Mary Jane Walsh designed the interior book layout, and Edie Freedman designed the front cover.

My in-laws, Marshall and Elaine Hartholz of Seattle, deserve special thanks for taking our children camping for a week, allowing me to make significant progress during an important phase of the update. :-)

Finally, I would like to thank my wonderful wife Miriam for her patience during this project.

Arnold Robbins


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