grep searches the input files for lines containing a match to a given pattern list. When it finds a match in a line, it copies the line to standard output (by default), or does whatever other sort of output you have requested with options.
grep-2.5.1: description + notes
Though grep expects to do the matching on text, it has no limits on input line length other than available memory, and it can match arbitrary characters within a line. If the final byte of an input file is not a newline, grep silently supplies one. Since newline is also a separator for the list of patterns, there is no way to match newline characters in a text.
In addition, two variant programs egrep and fgrep are available. Egrep is the same as "
grep -E", and uses extended regular expressions. Fgrep is the same as "
grep -F", and searches for a fixed string.
The grep home page has more information.
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