From Rosetta Code
Gawk is an implementation of AWK. Other implementations of AWK.

gawk is GNU awk, the first free AWK implementation. gawk is compatible with nawk. gawk also adds several extensions to its language.

Many systems, and most GNU/Linux distros, use gawk as their default awk. (Older BSD systems also used gawk as their default awk, until newer BSD systems switched to nawk.) gawk was the only free awk, until the 1991 release of mawk.


A "gawkism" is an extension that works with gawk, but not with other AWK variants. Gawk's own manual identifies GNU extensions, so programmers know which features require gawk.

Some gawkisms are

  • GNU-style regular expressions.
  • extra built-in functions, like asort() and gensub().
  • Korn-style coprocesses.
  • TCP and UDP networking with "/inet/".
  • (since gawk 4.0.0) arrays of arrays, like ary[2][3] = 4.
  • (since gawk 4.0.0) indirect function calls, like str = "foo"; @str() # calls foo().
  • other GNU extensions in the manual.