I am planning to use(hyphen -) in a variable test-ing=3.0 but I am unable to print value $test-ing. I know hyphen will not work on shell, any possible way to print the variable value without changing the variable name?

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    This seems like a terrible idea. (Why don't you throw in a backslash and a dollar sign for good measure ;-) ?) The older one gets the more important appears to become portability. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jan 23 at 17:46
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica Agreed. Let's have a car analogy: How to use custard (pudding) instead of lugnuts? I have to wonder what's driving the decision not to change the variable name ... sunk cost fallacy, p'raps? – Rich Jan 23 at 18:48
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    Save yourself tons of troubles and use underscores instead, that's what they're for. – maaartinus Jan 24 at 1:09

Assuming an environment variable, since test-ing is not a valid shell variable name, you can use printenv:

% env foo-bar=baz printenv foo-bar

Or Perl:

% env foo-bar=baz perl -e 'print $ENV{"foo-bar"}'

Or other tools like Python, etc.

| improve this answer | |
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    ENVIRON array in awk also – Inian Jan 23 at 7:01
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    Beware though that some shells like mksh remove from the environment the variables that can't be mapped to shell variables (try env foo-bar=baz mksh -c 'printenv foo-bar' for instance). So use at your own risk and be prepared for those not to traverse all exec() chains. – Stéphane Chazelas Jan 23 at 7:54

In the rc shell or derivatives (es, akanga), just about anything can be used in a variable name.

All variables are also exported to the environment.

However, in Byron Rakitzis' clone of rc for Unix (from which es/akanga derive), as opposed to the port of plan9 rc (now publicly available since plan9 has been released as FLOSS), note that for those that contain characters outside of a-zA-Z0-9_ or sequences of two or more underscores, an encoding/decoding is used upon export/import from the environment:

$ rc
; foo-bar = baz
; echo $'foo-bar'
; printenv foo-bar
; env | grep foo

In Byron's rc, one also can't use a variable with an empty name:

; '' = 1
rc: zero-length variable name

Things like 1 = foo or * = (foo bar) work, but they set the positional parameters, not variables.

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