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gawk: Locales

 
 6.6 Where You Are Makes a Difference
 ====================================
 
 Modern systems support the notion of "locales": a way to tell the system
 about the local character set and language.  The ISO C standard defines
 a default '"C"' locale, which is an environment that is typical of what
 many C programmers are used to.
 
    Once upon a time, the locale setting used to affect regexp matching,
 but this is no longer true (⇒Ranges and Locales).
 
    Locales can affect record splitting.  For the normal case of 'RS =
 "\n"', the locale is largely irrelevant.  For other single-character
 record separators, setting 'LC_ALL=C' in the environment will give you
 much better performance when reading records.  Otherwise, 'gawk' has to
 make several function calls, _per input character_, to find the record
 terminator.
 
    Locales can affect how dates and times are formatted (⇒Time
 Functions).  For example, a common way to abbreviate the date
 September 4, 2015, in the United States is "9/4/15."  In many countries
 in Europe, however, it is abbreviated "4.9.15."  Thus, the '%x'
 specification in a '"US"' locale might produce '9/4/15', while in a
 '"EUROPE"' locale, it might produce '4.9.15'.
 
    According to POSIX, string comparison is also affected by locales
 (similar to regular expressions).  The details are presented in ⇒
 POSIX String Comparison.
 
    Finally, the locale affects the value of the decimal point character
 used when 'gawk' parses input data.  This is discussed in detail in
 ⇒Conversion.
 
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