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   If you are like many computer users, you would frequently like to
make changes in various text files wherever certain patterns appear, or
extract data from parts of certain lines while discarding the rest.  To
write a program to do this in a language such as C or Pascal is a
time-consuming inconvenience that may take many lines of code.  The job
may be easier with `awk'.

   The `awk' utility interprets a special-purpose programming language
that makes it possible to handle simple data-reformatting jobs easily
with just a few lines of code.

   The GNU implementation of `awk' is called `gawk'; it is fully upward
compatible with the System V Release 4 version of `awk'.  `gawk' is
also upward compatible with the POSIX (draft) specification of the
`awk' language.  This means that all properly written `awk' programs
should work with `gawk'.  Thus, we usually don't distinguish between
`gawk' and other `awk' implementations in this manual.

   This manual teaches you what `awk' does and how you can use `awk'
effectively.  You should already be familiar with basic system commands
such as `ls'.  Using `awk' you can:

   * manage small, personal databases

   * generate reports

   * validate data

   * produce indexes, and perform other document preparation tasks

   * even experiment with algorithms that can be adapted later to other
     computer languages


The history of `gawk' and `awk'. Acknowledgements.