Naming Awk

The Awk programming language was named after the initials of its creators. In the preface to a book that just came out, The AWK Programing Language, Second Edition, the authors give a little background on this.

Naming a language after its creators shows a certain paucity of imagination. In our defense, we didn’t have a better idea, and by coincidence, at some point in the process we were in three adjacent offices in the order Aho, Weinberger, and Kernighan.

By the way, here’s a nice line from near the end of the book.

Realistically, if you’re going to learn only one programming language, Python is the one. But for small programs typed at the command line, Awk is hard to beat.

2 thoughts on “Naming Awk

  1. Back at Google, I had a co-worker that was fighting with an awk script, and his boss told him a few times, “why don’t you ask Pete?”

    After two days, he finally asked Peter Weinberger, who sat two seats down from him.

  2. I know Brian Kernighan’s been improving awk’s unicode support recently, so I guess that’s a big part of the book’s new edition?

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