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Re: bin/53885 (awk ERE bug)

The following reply was made to PR bin/53885; it has been noted by GNATS.

From: Martijn Dekker <>
To:,,,, kre%munnari.OZ.AU@localhost
Subject: Re: bin/53885 (awk ERE bug)
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2019 21:31:37 +0100

 Op 18-01-19 om 17:18 schreef Martijn Dekker:
 > If it is true that nawk's ERE implementation is so "exceedingly
 > complicated and fragile" that adding a basic and standard ERE feature
 > would be too difficult, then this awk is broken by design and you should
 > consider using some other awk implementation as the default awk.
 It must not actually be true, though -- because Apple's /usr/bin/awk is
 of the same lineage, and it supports POSIX EREs just fine, including the
 bounds/interval expressions. See the code at:
 ...and if you get the tarball at
 (and ignore the obsolete Makefile within it) then you get another
 awk.tar.gz within that with the original sources (warning: files at top
 level, so 'mkdir' and 'cd' first), and a src/ directory with Apple's
 patched version. The code for the bounds feature is quite easy to find
 in a 'diff -ur' between them.
 So this should be quite possible to backport... I hope someone will. If
 not, maybe I'll take a shot at it when I find significant time, because
 I think it's important for POSIX awk scripts to be actually portable.
 - M.

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