Sorting with "-k" on Unix and Linux

The “sort” command on Solaris has a “-k” switch for sorting by a particular field. For example, “sort -k 2” will sort by the second field on each line of input. Parts of fields can be further specified with “-k n.m“, says the man page.

For example, “sort -k 2.3” should sort by the second field, starting with the third character in that field. But the man page isn’t the clearest, and getting the “-k x.y” notation to work is tricky. Tricky until you realize it never works you also supply the “-b” argument. Same on Linux. Continue reading