Recipe for a Programming Language
Blend all parts well using
After eight years, add another part
awk comes from the initials of its designers: Alfred V.
Aho, Peter J. Weinberger, and Brian W. Kernighan. The original version of
awk was written in 1977 at AT&T Bell Laboratories.
In 1985, a new version made the programming
language more powerful, introducing user-defined functions, multiple input
streams, and computed regular expressions.
This new version became widely available with Unix System V
Release 3.1 (1987).
The version in System V Release 4 (1989) added some new features and cleaned
up the behavior in some of the “dark corners” of the language.
The specification for
awk in the POSIX Command Language
and Utilities standard further clarified the language.
gawk designers and the original
awk designers at Bell Laboratories
provided feedback for the POSIX specification.
Paul Rubin wrote
gawk in 1986.
Jay Fenlason completed it, with advice from Richard Stallman. John Woods
contributed parts of the code as well. In 1988 and 1989, David Trueman, with
help from me, thoroughly reworked
gawk for compatibility
with the newer
Circa 1994, I became the primary maintainer.
Current development focuses on bug fixes,
performance improvements, standards compliance, and, occasionally, new features.
In May 1997, Jürgen Kahrs felt the need for network access
awk, and with a little help from me, set about adding
features to do this for
gawk. At that time, he also
wrote the bulk of
TCP/IP Internetworking with
(a separate document, available as part of the
His code finally became part of the main
gawk version 3.1.
John Haque rewrote the
gawk internals, in the process providing
awk-level debugger. This version became available as
gawk version 4.0 in 2011.
See Major Contributors to
for a full list of those who have made important contributions to