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Running gawk on VMS

Command-line parsing and quoting conventions are significantly different on VMS, so examples in this Web page or from other sources often need minor changes. They are minor though, and all awk programs should run correctly.

Here are a couple of trivial tests:

$ gawk -- "BEGIN {print ""Hello, World!""}"
$ gawk -"W" version
! could also be -"W version" or "-W version"

Note that uppercase and mixed-case text must be quoted.

The VMS port of gawk includes a DCL-style interface in addition to the original shell-style interface (see the help entry for details). One side effect of dual command-line parsing is that if there is only a single parameter (as in the quoted string program above), the command becomes ambiguous. To work around this, the normally optional -- flag is required to force Unix style rather than DCL parsing. If any other dash-type options (or multiple parameters such as data files to process) are present, there is no ambiguity and -- can be omitted.

The default search path, when looking for awk program files specified by the -f option, is "SYS$DISK:[],AWK_LIBRARY:". The logical name AWKPATH can be used to override this default. The format of AWKPATH is a comma-separated list of directory specifications. When defining it, the value should be quoted so that it retains a single translation and not a multitranslation RMS searchlist.