In Unix terms, this message is almost like Moses appearing and announcing a change in the 10 Commandments.
AWK, a programming language for parsing text files, is a core part of the Unix operating system, including Linux, all BSDs, and others. For an operating system to be considered POSIX-compliant, it must contain AWK. AWK first appeared in 1977 and was included with Version 7 UNIX in 1979—the last version of Bell Labs’ UNIX before AT&T made it a commercial product.
What is remarkable about the tool’s Unicode support is not so much the feature itself, but who wrote it: a Canadian computer scientist Brian Kernighan.
AWK’s name is an acronym for its three original developers: Turing Prize winner Alfred AheyPeter WEinberger and Brian Kernighan Professor Kernighan is also the “K” in “K&R C” as in the original 1978 classic book The programming language Cwritten by Professor Kernighan and the late, great Dennis Ritchie.
In fact, the book not only dictated and specified a version of the C language now known as C78, but even a style of indentation. Its influence is so great that the book sometimes crops up in old Unix hacker circles called “the old testament” and the deepening “the only true suspender style”.
There are of course other versions of AWK, but this is the original version that comes as A real AWK. The code change is described on github under the humble description “Add email from BWK.” The professor modestly states:
Once I figure out how (and do some more verification) I’ll try to submit a pull request. I wish I understood Git better, but despite your help I still don’t have a proper understanding, so this may take a while.
He has the reg Sympathies from FOSS Desk. This vulture is a youngster of 54 and still can’t wrap his head around the aptly named Git, while Prof. Kernighan is 80 years old.
Kernighan also invented the name “UNIX” and invented the “Hello, world” programming language demonstration intended for the B programming language, a precursor to C, although he was from that language entertains:
I had no part in the birth of C, period. It’s all Dennis Ritchie’s work. I wrote a tutorial on using C for people at Bell Labs, and I twisted Dennis’ arm to write a book with me.
Prof. Kernighan has written a number of other notable books, including in recent years The Go programming language (2015), Understand the digital world (2017) and Unix: A History and a Remembrance (2019).
It’s important to remember that software like Unix is not sacred scripture handed down untouchable from historical times. Most of the people who conceived, implemented and designed them are still with us. In this case, it has actually been a few months since the code change was made, but it was only recognized by the wider world thanks to a new interview with Prof. Kernighan that has just been published. ®
https://www.theregister.com/2022/08/23/universal_unix_tool_awk_gets/ Universal Unix tool AWK gets Unicode support • The Register