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I have a solution for this in awk:

awk '{if (NR==1 && NF==0) next};1' somefile

but was unable to find one that worked in sed. E.g.,

sed -i.bak '/^$/{1,1d;}' somefile

ended up deleting the first blank line it found (I'm not a sed expert, so I was just trying out things). The advantage to sed in this case is that I would be able to do this w/o temporary files. ie in place.

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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Try this one:

sed '1{/^$/d}' file
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It can't delete the first line if it isn't blank. Please check how it works and write if it is ok. –  rush Jun 27 '12 at 14:39
    
Works great! .. Thanks a bunch –  Levon Jun 27 '12 at 16:14
    
I understand the /^$/d part, by putting the line number in front and enclosing it in {} makes it only apply to that line? I assume I could also give a range of line numbers in the form 2,4 (start at line 2 and end at 4)? –  Levon Jun 27 '12 at 16:23
    
Yes, you're right. –  rush Jun 27 '12 at 16:25
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An alternative:

sed '0,/^$/d' file

And as a bold guessing, you may want to delete all the blank lines before the first line(containing any chars), if it is the case, we can try the below:

sed '1,/^$/d' file

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