Giorgos Keramidas wrote:
This fails to remove multiple occurences of the [[:space:]] class.

There are at least the following ways:

        sed -i -e 's/^[[:space:]]*' -e 's/[[:space:]]*$//' file ...
        perl -pi -e 's/^\s*(\S.*\S)[ \t]*$/$1/' file ...

The first one seems more straightforward to me most of the time,
but there are times I find Perl's `-pi -e ...' idiom very convenient.
It is, and I wish to acknowledge the above are entirely valid solutions to the problem, but...

  python -c 'import sys; print sys.stdin.read().strip()' < file...

...has the advantage of being human readable. My old 300-baud accoustic modem used to generate output which in hindsight looks astonishingly close to regex character classes. :-)

--
-Chuck

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