AWK, a software platform first introduced in 1977, has finally received its long-awaited update, almost half a century after its inception.
What makes the launch more impressive is the work of 80-year-old Canadian computer scientist Brian Kernighan, who is part of the team responsible for the software acronym itself (AWK – Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger and Brian Kernighan).
Compatibility with POSIX in terms of the operating system requires it to include AWK, a programming language designed to parse text files. It first appeared in UNIX version 7 in 1979, which is credited with being the last version of UNIX created by Bell Labs before it was commercialized by AT&T. Other POSIX-certified operating systems include macOS, VxWorks, and z/OS.
In Post on GitHub (opens in a new tab), Kernighan writes about an update titled “Add BWK Email Address”. He says:
“Finally, having some free time after vacating the academic treadmill, I’m back to playing around with Unicode in awk.”
He writes that it now “mostly” works, “thanks to a combination of internally using utf-8 for functions like length() and converting to utf-32 in regular expressions.”
One realloc bug was found in the update, leading Kernighan to suspect there may be more. An “adequate number” of tests have already been carried out, but he writes that “more testing is clearly needed.”
Comments in the thread highlight the importance of the update and include single-line words like “wow” and “respect”.
Register (opens in a new tab) reports that the code was actually changed earlier in 2022, but was only noticed by a wider audience thanks to a recently published interview with Kernighan.