<tool> A kind of Unix filter that reads its entire input before writing any output, e.g. sort. Unlike most filters, a sponge can safely overwrite the input file with the output data.

On a file system with file versioning (like ITS or VMS) the distinction is less significant because output would be written to a new version of the input file anyway.

See also slurp.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 2014-06-21

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Nearby terms:

SPML « spod « spoiler « sponge » spoo » spoof » spoofing