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headsort takes 1/2 time of sort(1) in situations

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BSD Linux


headsort sorts files by line. Options can sort by column and do other sort tasks. Very compatible with sort(1).

headsort is a shell for several sort algorithms (useable by menu). The main algorithm is the headsort algorithm. By default it works like sort(1) though.

In general headsort can sort in 1/2 the time sort(1) (mergesort) does in situations involving either pipes or mult column selection; less with both. Infact it's speed tradeoffs are about opposite that of sort(1).

Also called "triangulation sort". It most rapidly begins piping first items. This means it has new applications in distributed computing and in some cases makes dc un-necessary.

Very compatible however not a "drop in" (do not copy over sort(1) binary). Use by need.

other algorthms featured if menu used:

bubble, selection, insertion, shell, distributive counting, straight radix, radix exchange, quick, merge.

(note of the above are by character, some by line, some support both

headsort Web Site


  • exact column selection sort what's needed , not all / heuristic
  • non-buggy numeric sorting , fast , very wide numbers
  • floating month names (as international) (or as ordering rule)
  • pretty text + binary + hex dump of file
  • menu for trying other algorithms / selectable algorithm
  • all sort(1) options supported , always stable
  • arg handling even closer to gnusort's
  • sources much cleaned and simplified. easy make.
  • see manpage for all features
  • NEW: a fix, and more casual use testing


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