bash: Field Separator Variable

Written by Benjamin Cane on 2011-09-20

By default when using a for loop in bash the field separator is set to a space.


[[email protected] ~]$ for x in list:like:this; do echo $x; done  

One of the cool things about bash is that you can change this by setting a simple variable $IFS

[[email protected] ~]$ IFS=":"  
[[email protected] ~]$ for x in list:like:this; do echo $x; done  
list like this

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Benjamin's specialty is keeping the lights on for mission critical systems. He is currently building applications that enable high concurrency financial transactions.

Recently Benjamin published his first book; Red Hat Enterprise Linux Troubleshooting Guide. In addition to writing, he has several Open Source projects focused on making Ops easier. These projects include Automatron, a project enabling auto-healing infrastructure for the masses.


Identify, capture and resolve common issues faced by Red Hat Enterprise Linux administrators using best practices and advanced troubleshooting techniques

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Excellent, excellent resource for practical guidance on how to troubleshoot a wide variety of problems on Red Hat Linux. I particularly enjoyed how the author made sure to provide solid background and practical examples. I have a lot of experience on Red Hat but still came away with some great practical tools to add to my toolkit. - Amazon Review