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I am using AIX 6.1 ksh shell

I want to use one liner to do something like this

cat A_FILE | skip-first-3-bytes-of-the-file  

I want to skip the first 3 bytes of the first line, is there a way to do this?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 24 '12 at 21:26

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Old school — you could use dd:

dd if=A_FILE bs=1c skip=3

The input file is A_FILE, the block size is 1 character (byte), skip the first 3 'blocks' (bytes). There are other ways too:

sed '1s/^...//' A_FILE

This works if there are 3 or more characters on the first line.

tail -c +4 A_FILE

And you could use Perl, Python and so on too.

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Thanks for your help. Both the sed and the tail commands work in AIX 6.1. For the dd command, it should be dd if=A_FILE bs=1 skip=3 in AIX 6.1 – Alvin SIU Oct 25 '12 at 13:55
You may want to use standard input as such cat A_FILE | tail -c +4 with gnu. – MUY Belgium Nov 8 '13 at 7:57

Instead of using cat you can use tail as such:

tail -c +4 FILE

This will print out the entire file except for the first 3 bytes. Consult man tail for more information.

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Don't know about AIX, but on Solaris you must use /usr/xpg4/bin/tail, at least on my machine. Good tip nonetheless! – BellevueBob Oct 24 '12 at 19:34
@BobDuell It's hard to post something that is compatible with every OS. – squiguy Oct 24 '12 at 20:10
Yes, it works in AIX 6.1 – Alvin SIU Oct 25 '12 at 13:54
@AlvinSIU Good to know. Glad I could help. – squiguy Oct 25 '12 at 15:43

I needed to recently do something similar. I was helping with a field support issue and needed to let a technician see real time plots as they were making changes. The data is in a binary log that grows throughout the day. I have software that can parse and plot the data from logs, but it is currently not real time. What I did was capture the size of the log before I started processing the data, then went into a loop that would process the data and each pass create a new file with the bytes of the file that had not yet been processed.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# I named this little script hackjob.sh
# The purpose of this is to process an input file and load the results into
# a database. The file is constantly being update, so this runs in a loop
# and every pass it creates a new temp file with bytes that have not yet been
# processed.  It runs about 15 seconds behind real time so it's
# pseudo real time.  This will eventually be replaced by a real time
# queue based version, but this does work and surprisingly well actually.

set -x

# Current data in YYYYMMDD fomat
DATE=`date +%Y%m%d`



# Capture the size of the original file
SIZE1=`ls -l ${IFILE1} | awk '{print $5}'`

# Copy the original file to /tmp
cp ${IFILE1} ${OFILE1}

while :
    sleep 5

    # process_my_data.py ${OFILE1}
    rm ${OFILE1}
    # Copy IFILE1 to OFILE1 minus skipping the amount of data already processed
    dd skip=${SIZE1} bs=1 if=${IFILE1} of=${OFILE1}
    # Update the size of the input file
    SIZE1=`ls -l ${IFILE1} | awk '{print $5}'`


    DATE=`date +%Y%m%d`

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