[TUHS] UNIX: A History and a Memoir by Brian W. Kernighan is now out

Mary Ann Horton mah at mhorton.net
Wed Oct 30 06:13:48 AEST 2019

Thanks to Jon's super response on the first story, we know it originally 
occurred at Ford Aerospace.

Let me tell the other story. Perhaps someone will know some details.

When I tell it, usually to nontechnical people, I prefix it by 
explaining that UNIX has 3 different grep programs, all of which find 
text in files. There is regular grep. There is fgrep, the "fixed grep", 
which is simpler and only looks for basic text. And there is egrep, the 
"enhanced grep", that will look for fancy patterns and is very powerful. 
You would expect that fgrep, being the simplest, would be the fastest, 
but as it turns out, egrep is the fastest and fgrep is the slowest.

One day at a meeting at Bell Labs, an MTS came rushing into the meeting, 
all out of breath. "Sorry I'm late, I was grepping my apartment for my 

Dryly, the boss replied "You should have used egrep. It's faster."

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