tsort performs a topological sort on the given file, or standard input if no input file is given or for a file of ‘-’. For more details and some history, see tsort background. Synopsis:
tsort [option] [file]
tsort reads its input as pairs of strings, separated by blanks, indicating a partial ordering. The output is a total ordering that corresponds to the given partial ordering.
tsort <<EOF a b c d e f b c d e EOF
will produce the output
a b c d e f
Consider a more realistic example.
You have a large set of functions all in one file, and they may all be
declared static except one. Currently that one (say
main) is the
first function defined in the file, and the ones it calls directly follow
it, followed by those they call, etc. Let's say that you are determined
to take advantage of prototypes, so you have to choose between declaring
all of those functions (which means duplicating a lot of information from
the definitions) and rearranging the functions so that as many as possible
are defined before they are used. One way to automate the latter process
is to get a list for each function of the functions it calls directly.
Many programs can generate such lists. They describe a call graph.
Consider the following list, in which a given line indicates that the
function on the left calls the one on the right directly.
main parse_options main tail_file main tail_forever tail_file pretty_name tail_file write_header tail_file tail tail_forever recheck tail_forever pretty_name tail_forever write_header tail_forever dump_remainder tail tail_lines tail tail_bytes tail_lines start_lines tail_lines dump_remainder tail_lines file_lines tail_lines pipe_lines tail_bytes xlseek tail_bytes start_bytes tail_bytes dump_remainder tail_bytes pipe_bytes file_lines dump_remainder recheck pretty_name
then you can use tsort to produce an ordering of those functions that satisfies your requirement.
example$ tsort call-graph | tac dump_remainder start_lines file_lines pipe_lines xlseek start_bytes pipe_bytes tail_lines tail_bytes pretty_name write_header tail recheck parse_options tail_file tail_forever main
tsort detects any cycles in the input and writes the first cycle encountered to standard error.
Note that for a given partial ordering, generally there is no unique
total ordering. In the context of the call graph above, the function
parse_options may be placed anywhere in the list as long as it
The only options are --help and --version. See Common options.
An exit status of zero indicates success, and a nonzero value indicates failure.