Jerod Santo

Ack hits 2.0, moves beyond Grep

The much beloved ack — a text search tool akin to grep, but tuned specifically for searching code — reached the 2.0 milestone this week. The new release brings with it a bevy of changes, most notably a more liberal default search algorithm and the ability to load multiple ackrc files.

Ack has historically made its value proposition by being “better than grep”, but that has also changed with the new release. Andy Lester (ack’s author) replied to a comment on Hacker News asking how ack 2.0’s speed compares to the recently released (and changelog’d) Silver Searcher tool by saying:

It's OK to have two similar tools in your toolbox. When you need the --output option, for example, you use ack. When you want crazy speed, you use ag. You don't have to choose one over the other. That's why I changed the name from "" to "". There's no need to have a ranking of "I use this over that."

Ack requires Perl 5.8.8+ and that’s it. There are plenty of ways to install it on different systems and there is even a single-file version which can simply be dropped in your PATH and made executable.

Want to get invovled? Ack is developed on GitHub!


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