chris blogs

July 2013

02jul2013 · Summer of Scripts: lsort

lsort is a very simple tool (in fact, just a Perl one-liner), but it does a job that is not very easy to do with classic Unix on-board equipment: sort lines by their length.

An example application would be to cheat at some word games: what’s the longest word that contains all vocals in reverse alphabetic order?

% grep u.*o.*i.*e.*a /usr/share/dict/words |lsort
unnoticeable
subcontinental
uncomplimentary

Together with head and tail, this tool is also useful for finding the shortest and longest lines (e.g. to find very long filenames or huge entries in symbol tables):

% nm -D /usr/lib/chromium/chromium | lsort | tail -1

(Actually, wc -L can output the longest line length, but not the longest line.)

NP: Aimee Mann—Driving Sideways

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