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7.4 comm: Compare two sorted files line by line

comm writes to standard output lines that are common, and lines that are unique, to two input files; a file name of ‘-’ means standard input. Synopsis:

comm [option]… file1 file2

Before comm can be used, the input files must be sorted using the collating sequence specified by the LC_COLLATE locale. If an input file ends in a non-newline character, a newline is silently appended. The sort command with no options always outputs a file that is suitable input to comm.

With no options, comm produces three-column output. Column one contains lines unique to file1, column two contains lines unique to file2, and column three contains lines common to both files. Columns are separated by a single TAB character.

The options ‘-1’, ‘-2’, and ‘-3’ suppress printing of the corresponding columns. Also see Common options.

Unlike some other comparison utilities, comm has an exit status that does not depend on the result of the comparison. Upon normal completion comm produces an exit code of zero. If there is an error it exits with nonzero status.

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