* ABOUT BUGS
Before reporting a bug, please check the list of known bugs
and the list of oft-reported non-bugs (below).
Bugs and comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org; please
include in the Subject: header the first line of the output of
Please do not send a bug report like this:
[while building frobme-1.3.4]
sed: file sedscr line 1: Unknown option to 's'
If sed doesn't configure your favorite package, take a few extra
minutes to identify the specific problem and make a stand-alone test
A stand-alone test case includes all the data necessary to perform the
test, and the specific invocation of sed that causes the problem. The
smaller a stand-alone test case is, the better. A test case should
not involve something as far removed from sed as ``try to configure
frobme-1.3.4''. Yes, that is in principle enough information to look
for the bug, but that is not a very practical prospect.
`N' command on the last line
Most versions of sed exit without printing anything when the `N'
command is issued on the last line of a file. GNU sed instead
prints pattern space before exiting unless of course the `-n'
command switch has been specified. More information on the reason
behind this choice can be found in the Info manual.
regex syntax clashes (problems with backslashes)
sed uses the Posix basic regular expression syntax. According to
the standard, the meaning of some escape sequences is undefined in
this syntax; notable in the case of GNU sed are `\|', `\+', `\?',
`\`', `\'', `\<', `\>', `\b', `\B', `\w', and `\W'.
As in all GNU programs that use Posix basic regular expressions, sed
interprets these escape sequences as meta-characters. So, `x\+'
matches one or more occurrences of `x'. `abc\|def' matches either
`abc' or `def'.
This syntax may cause problems when running scripts written for other
seds. Some sed programs have been written with the assumption that
`\|' and `\+' match the literal characters `|' and `+'. Such scripts
must be modified by removing the spurious backslashes if they are to
be used with recent versions of sed (not only GNU sed).
On the other hand, some scripts use `s|abc\|def||g' to remove occurrences
of _either_ `abc' or `def'. While this worked until sed 4.0.x, newer
versions interpret this as removing the string `abc|def'. This is
again undefined behavior according to POSIX, but this interpretation
is arguably more robust: the older one, for example, required that
the regex matcher parsed `\/' as `/' in the common case of escaping
a slash, which is again undefined behavior; the new behavior avoids
this, and this is good because the regex matcher is only partially
under our control.
In addition, GNU sed supports several escape characters (some of
which are multi-character) to insert non-printable characters
in scripts (`\a', `\c', `\d', `\o', `\r', `\t', `\v', `\x'). These
can cause similar problems with scripts written for other seds.
-i clobbers read-only files
In short, `sed d -i' will let one delete the contents of
a read-only file, and in general the `-i' option will let
one clobber protected files. This is not a bug, but rather a
consequence of how the Unix file system works.
The permissions on a file say what can happen to the data
in that file, while the permissions on a directory say what can
happen to the list of files in that directory. `sed -i'
will not ever open for writing a file that is already on disk,
rather, it will work on a temporary file that is finally renamed
to the original name: if you rename or delete files, you're actually
modifying the contents of the directory, so the operation depends on
the permissions of the directory, not of the file). For this same
reason, sed will not let one use `-i' on a writeable file in a
read-only directory, and will break hard or symbolic links when
`-i' is used on such a file.
`0a' does not work (gives an error)
There is no line 0. 0 is a special address that is only used to treat
addresses like `0,/RE/' as active when the script starts: if you
write `1,/abc/d' and the first line includes the word `abc', then
that match would be ignored because address ranges must span at least
two lines (barring the end of the file); but what you probably wanted is
to delete every line up to the first one including `abc', and this
is obtained with `0,/abc/d'.
`[a-z]' is case insensitive
`s/.*//' does not clear pattern space
You are encountering problems with locales. POSIX mandates that `[a-z]'
uses the current locale's collation order -- in C parlance, that means
strcoll(3) instead of strcmp(3). Some locales have a case insensitive
strcoll, others don't.
Another problem is that [a-z] tries to use collation symbols. This
only happens if you are on the GNU system, using GNU libc's regular
expression matcher instead of compiling the one supplied with GNU sed.
In a Danish locale, for example, the regular expression `^[a-z]$'
matches the string `aa', because `aa' is a single collating symbol that
comes after `a' and before `b'; `ll' behaves similarly in Spanish
locales, or `ij' in Dutch locales.
Another common localization-related problem happens if your input stream
includes invalid multibyte sequences. POSIX mandates that such
sequences are _not_ matched by `.', so that `s/.*//' will not clear
pattern space as you would expect. In fact, there is no way to clear
sed's buffers in the middle of the script in most multibyte locales
(including UTF-8 locales). For this reason, GNU sed provides a `z'
command (for `zap') as an extension.
However, to work around both of these problems, which may cause bugs
in shell scripts, you can set the LC_ALL environment variable to `C',
or set the locale on a more fine-grained basis with the other LC_*