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Sun, 16 Jan 2011 23:03:44 +0000
I just had an email exchange with Phil Hazel, author of PCRE and
pcregrep, asking him what GNU grep now lacks that pcregrep offers,
with a view to making pcregrep redundant. He replied:
A quick glance at "man grep" (2.5.4 on a Gentoo Linux system)
shows up the following:
1. It says grep -P is "highly experimental".
2. GNU grep lacks --include-dir.
3. GNU grep with -P doesn't have a means of setting certain
PCRE-specific options such as -M, --match-limit, --recursion-limit.
-M (multiline matching) is a rather different way of matching the
text of a file.
4. There's no mention of UTF-8 support in the GNU grep man page.
5. There are some trivialities such as pcregrep's synonym of
--word-regex for --word-regexp (but of course those are minor
6. There are surely other issues that I missed in a quick compare. In
fact, I see that I have already documented some differences in the
pcregrep man page (including those mentioned above). It says this:
However, the --file-offsets, --include-dir, --line-offsets,
--locale, --match-limit, -M, --multiline, -N, --newline, --recur-
sion-limit, -u, and --utf-8 options are specific to pcregrep, as
is the use of the --only-matching option with a capturing
Would it be worth adding this to the GNU grep TODO list? It would be
nice to make pcregrep redundant, as it's essentially a GNU grep clone
that uses PCRE, unlike some other grep implementations that have more
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