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gawk: Manual History

 The GNU Project and This Book
 The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated
 to the production and distribution of freely distributable software.  It
 was founded by Richard M. Stallman, the author of the original Emacs
 editor.  GNU Emacs is the most widely used version of Emacs today.
    The GNU(1) Project is an ongoing effort on the part of the Free
 Software Foundation to create a complete, freely distributable,
 POSIX-compliant computing environment.  The FSF uses the GNU General
 Public License (GPL) to ensure that its software's source code is always
 available to the end user.  A copy of the GPL is included for your
 reference (⇒Copying).  The GPL applies to the C language source
 code for 'gawk'.  To find out more about the FSF and the GNU Project
 online, see the GNU Project's home page (  This
 Info file may also be read from GNU's website
    A shell, an editor (Emacs), highly portable optimizing C, C++, and
 Objective-C compilers, a symbolic debugger and dozens of large and small
 utilities (such as 'gawk'), have all been completed and are freely
 available.  The GNU operating system kernel (the HURD), has been
 released but remains in an early stage of development.
    Until the GNU operating system is more fully developed, you should
 consider using GNU/Linux, a freely distributable, Unix-like operating
 system for Intel, Power Architecture, Sun SPARC, IBM S/390, and other
 systems.(2)  Many GNU/Linux distributions are available for download
 from the Internet.
    The Info file itself has gone through multiple previous editions.
 Paul Rubin wrote the very first draft of 'The GAWK Manual'; it was
 around 40 pages long.  Diane Close and Richard Stallman improved it,
 yielding a version that was around 90 pages and barely described the
 original, "old" version of 'awk'.
    I started working with that version in the fall of 1988.  As work on
 it progressed, the FSF published several preliminary versions (numbered
 0.X).  In 1996, edition 1.0 was released with 'gawk' 3.0.0.  The FSF
 published the first two editions under the title 'The GNU Awk User's
    This edition maintains the basic structure of the previous editions.
 For FSF edition 4.0, the content was thoroughly reviewed and updated.
 All references to 'gawk' versions prior to 4.0 were removed.  Of
 significant note for that edition was the addition of ⇒Debugger.
    For FSF edition 4.2, the content has been reorganized into parts, and
 the major new additions are ⇒Arbitrary Precision Arithmetic, and
 ⇒Dynamic Extensions.
    This Info file will undoubtedly continue to evolve.  If you find an
 error in the Info file, please report it!  ⇒Bugs for information
 on submitting problem reports electronically.
    ---------- Footnotes ----------
    (1) GNU stands for "GNU's Not Unix."
    (2) The terminology "GNU/Linux" is explained in the ⇒Glossary.
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