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Version sorting handles the fact that file names frequently include indices or version numbers. Standard sorting usually does not produce the order that one expects because comparisons are made on a character-by-character basis. Version sorting is especially useful when browsing directories that contain many files with indices/version numbers in their names:
$ ls -1 $ ls -1v abc.zml-1.gz abc.zml-1.gz abc.zml-12.gz abc.zml-2.gz abc.zml-2.gz abc.zml-12.gz
Version-sorted strings are compared such that if ver1 and ver2 are version numbers and prefix and suffix (suffix matching the regular expression ‘(\.[A-Za-z~][A-Za-z0-9~]*)*’) are strings then ver1 < ver2 implies that the name composed of “prefix ver1 suffix” sorts before “prefix ver2 suffix”.
Note also that leading zeros of numeric parts are ignored:
$ ls -1 $ ls -1v abc-1.007.tgz abc-1.01a.tgz abc-1.012b.tgz abc-1.007.tgz abc-1.01a.tgz abc-1.012b.tgz
This functionality is implemented using gnulib's
which has some caveats worth noting.