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Wednesday·24·November·2010

Useful but Unknown Unix Commandline Options: sort -h //at 01:12 //by abe

from the human-sortable dept.

The GNU coreutils command “du” knows about the option “-h” to output human readable (or at least human friendly) values with unit prefixes, e.g. k, M or G.

The GNU coreutils command “sort” also can sort by numbers for quite a long time using the option “-n”, but that doesn’t work on the output of “du -h”. So you usually just did one of the following commands, but couldn’t easily combine them:

$ du -h
$ du | sort -n

For approximately a year, GNU sort now knows about another command line option named “-h”. You guessed it probably: “sort -h” can sort human readable values with SI prefixes, e.g.

$ du -h | sort -h | tail -15
34M     ./ttf-mplus-033/debian/ttf-mplus
34M     ./ttf-mplus-033/debian/ttf-mplus/usr
34M     ./ttf-mplus-033/debian/ttf-mplus/usr/share
34M     ./ttf-mplus-033/debian/ttf-mplus/usr/share/fonts
34M     ./ttf-mplus-033/debian/ttf-mplus/usr/share/fonts/truetype
34M     ./ttf-mplus-033/debian/ttf-mplus/usr/share/fonts/truetype/ttf-mplus
35M     ./ttf-mplus-034
57M     ./ttf-mplus-029
60M     ./php5-5.2.6/ext
60M     ./ttf-mplus-030
63M     ./ttf-mplus-031
65M     ./ttf-mplus-032
67M     ./ttf-mplus-033
81M     ./php5-5.2.6
1.5G    .
$

You can get this feature already in Debian Unstable (Sid) and Testing (Squeeze, the upcoming stable release), and Ubuntu Maverick and Natty, but not yet in the current Debian Stable release (Lenny) nor in the last Ubuntu LTS release (Lucid Lynx).

Comments

Re: Useful but Unknown Unix Commandline Options: sort -h

Posted by: Daniel
Website: 
Time: Fri, 19 Nov 2010 14:25

Useful tip, did not know that.

I always found "du -m" to be more useful than "du -h" since it makes it easier to directly see the magnitude of the size without also having to read the suffix (it's very seldom that I'm interested in the size of ~

If I now can sort "du -h", its problems are fixed to an extent though, since "K"/"M"/"G" no longer are intertwined in the list.

Reply

Re: Useful but Unknown Unix Commandline Options: sort -h

Posted by: Daniel
Website: 
Time: Fri, 19 Nov 2010 14:30

Oops, used a "less than"-sign after the tilde in my second paragraph, which made the rest of the paragraph disappear in the HTML code. It should have read:

[less than]kB-files when I run "du"). Also, since "sort -n" has worked for "du -m", it has more or less won by default.

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This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

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