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slow SORT by fields other than the first

From: Hughes, Jason D
Subject: slow SORT by fields other than the first
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 18:23:20 -0400

"sort -k2" is *much* slower than "sort -k1" on a new Linux installation.
"sort -k3" is even slower.  I have never found this to be the case before.

The new system is Suse9.1, dual Opteron, 64-bit mode.  I have a
near-identical machine running Suse9.0 in 32-bit mode.  The 64-bit system is
usually just a bit faster in every benchmark.  "sort" is the big exception.
The effect is a 10-100x slowdown.

I can rule out most hardware or kernel effects since I have programs that do
similar things running as expected.  It seems that the algorithm for parsing
fields in sort has been changed for the worse.  Is there anything I can do
about this?



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