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30.1.1 Using version sort in GNU coreutils

Two GNU coreutils programs use version sort: ls and sort.

To list files in version sort order, use ls with -v or --sort=version options:

default sort:              version sort:

$ ls -1                    $ ls -1 -v
a1                         a1
a100                       a1.4
a1.13                      a1.13
a1.4                       a1.40
a1.40                      a2
a2                         a100

To sort text files in version sort order, use sort with the -V option:

$ cat input
b3
b11
b1
b20


alphabetical order:        version sort order:

$ sort input               $ sort -V input
b1                         b1
b11                        b3
b20                        b11
b3                         b20

To sort a specific column in a file use -k/--key with ‘V’ ordering option:

$ cat input2
1000  b3   apples
2000  b11  oranges
3000  b1   potatoes
4000  b20  bananas

$ sort -k2V,2 input2
3000  b1   potatoes
1000  b3   apples
2000  b11  oranges
4000  b20  bananas