GNU grep 3.5 Is Released

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The latest version of GNU grep changes three output messages and the --files-without-match (-L) has been changed so it succeeds when a file is selected, not when a file is listed. There's also six bug-fixes.

written by 林慧 (Wai Lin) 2020-09-29 - last edited 2020-09-29. © CC BY

GNU. GNU grep is GNU software.

The first grep version, written by Ken Thompson in the PDP-11 assembly language, was released in November 1974. The GNU grep implementation has roots going back to 1985.

grep is very useful if you want to recursively look for FIXME in the Linux kernel source tree (grep -R FIXME .). There are many other practical applications.

GNU grep 3.5 has three small changes. The code>--files-without-match (-L) will, again, succeed if a line is selected. This was how GNU grep behaved prior to version 3.2. The change in behavior has caused compatibility problems for those who upgraded to a new version which is why the change in version 3.2 has been reverted.

Three output messages have been changed in GNU grep 3.5:

  • "grep: FOO: warning: recursive directory loop"
  • "grep: FOO: input file is also the output".
  • "grep: FOO: binary file matches" (used to just say "Binary file FOO matches")

"Thanks especially to Paul Eggert, Norihiro Tanaka and Bruno Haible for changes both in grep proper and in gnulib."

The GNU grep 3.5 change-log

The source code for GNU grep 3.5, and versions going back to version 2.0 from 1996, can be acquired from The GNU grep homepage is at

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