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Linux in a Nutshell

This directory of Linux commands is from Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition.

Click on any of the 687 commands below to get a description and list of available options. All links in the command summaries point to the online version of the book on Safari Bookshelf.

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strfile [options] input_file [output_file] unstr [-c delimiter] input_file[.ext] [output_file]

strfile creates a random-access file for storing strings. The input file should be a file containing groups of lines separated by a line containing a single percent sign (or other specified delimiter character). strfile creates an output file that contains a header structure and a table of file offsets for each group of lines, allowing random access of the strings. The output file, if not specified on the command line, is named sourcefile.dat. unstr undoes the work of strfile, printing out the strings contained in the input file in the order they are listed in the header file data. If no output file is specified, unstr prints to standard output; otherwise, it prints to the specified file. unstr can also globally change the delimiter character in a strings file.


Of the following options, only -c can be used with unstr. All other options apply only to strfile.

-c delimiter

Change the delimiting character from the percent sign to delimiter. Valid for both strfile and unstr.


Ignore case when ordering the strings.


Order the strings alphabetically.


Randomize access to the strings.


Run silently; don't give a summary message when finished.


Set the STR_ROTATED bit in the header str_flags field.

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