To say that this book has been long anticipated is no understatement. I published three articles on awk in UNIX/World in the spring and summer of 1987, making the mistake of saying that these articles were from the upcoming Nutshell Handbook, Sed & Awk. I proposed to Tim O'Reilly that I adapt the articles and create a book as a project I could work on at home shortly after the birth of my son, Benjamin. I thought I'd finish it in several months. Well, my son turned three around the time I was completing the first draft. Cathy Brennan and the customer service representatives have been patiently handling requests for the book ever since the UNIX/World articles appeared. Cathy said that she even had people call to order the book, swearing it was available because they knew other people who had read it. I owe a debt of gratitude to her and her staff and to the readers I've kept waiting.
My thanks to Tim O'Reilly for creating a great company in which one can easily get sidetracked by a number of interesting projects. As editor, he pushed me to complete the book but would not allow it to be complete without his writing all over it. As usual, his suggestions made me work to improve the book.
Thanks to all the writers and production editors at O'Reilly & Associates, who presented interesting problems to be solved with sed and awk. Thanks to Ellie Cutler who was the production editor for the book and also wrote the index. Thanks to Lenny Muellner for allowing me to quote him throughout the book. Thanks as well to Sue Willing and Donna Woonteiler for their efforts in getting the book into print. Thanks to Chris Reilley who did the illustrations. Thanks to the individual contributors of the sed and awk scripts in Chapter 13. Thanks also to Kevin C. Castner, Tim Irvin, Mark Schalz, Alex Humez, Glenn Saito, Geoff Hagel, Tony Hurson, Jerry Peek, Mike Tiller, and Lenny Muellner, who sent me mail pointing out typos and errors.
Finally, dearest thanks to Nancy and Katie, Ben and Glenda.