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The POSIX portable file name character set consists of the upper case letters A to Z, the lower case letters a to z, the decimal digits 0 to 9, the full stop, the underscore, and the hyphen. I want to produce an error if the field is not so. I already can check that the field must start with a "/" but am having difficulty reporting errors for illegal characters within the file path given. The code I have:

{if ($6 !~ /[a-zA-Z0-9_\/.-]{0,100}$/) print NR ": ERROR The directory contains illegal characters" }

This doesn't find illegal characters and report them as it should. Input: /Bin**/home Output: Warning illegal characters found (Because of the "**")

Looking to fix my AWK command.

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    What implementation of awk is it? IIRC they don't all support the {m,n} repetition specifier. – steeldriver Oct 13 '16 at 1:55
  • I did awk --version and got awk version 20070501 – Seb Oct 13 '16 at 1:57
  • What is your OS? – John1024 Oct 13 '16 at 2:12
  • OS El Capitan on this machine – Seb Oct 13 '16 at 2:16
  • For some strange reason, you're checking whether the last 100 characters of the path are in that set, not the entire path. If the path is, say, the character $ followed by 100 a-s, it passes. – Kaz Oct 13 '16 at 16:30
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how about this ?

awk '$6~/[^a-zA-Z0-9_\/.-]/{print NR ":Illegal Characters"}' filename

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