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join more than two files

From: address@hidden
Subject: join more than two files
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2012 00:49:29 -0800


I fairly recently discovered the joys of join, but now I wonder why it
is limited to two files?

In other words, I would like to do the following:

join file1 file2 ... fileN

While I CAN achieve this through other methods, they are not ideal.
For instance, paste works with multiple files, but then I must cut out
the repeated key columns. The following also works, but doesn't
generalize to filename expansions (e.g. `join file*`):

join file1 file2 | join - file3 | ... | join - fileN

As for my use case, I am working with data files containing the
results of multiple systems running over the same test items. I would
like to compare the results of all systems for each item by putting
them side-by-side.

I don't know the history of the command, so I am not aware of any
technical or ideological reasons why it shouldn't support more than
two files. Any explanation appreciated!

-Michael Wayne Goodman

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