Regex driving me crazy...

J dreadpiratejeff at
Thu Apr 8 05:01:08 CEST 2010

On Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 22:45, Patrick Maupin <pmaupin at> wrote:

> When I saw "And I am interested in the string that appears in the
> third column, which changes as the test runs and then completes" I
> assumed that, not only could that string change, but so could the one
> before it.
> I guess my base assumption that anything with words in it could
> change.  I was looking at the OP's attempt at a solution, and he
> obviously felt he needed to see two or more spaces as an item
> delimiter.

I apologize for the confusion, Pat...

I could have worded that better, but at that point I was A:
Frustrated, B: starving, and C: had my wife nagging me to stop working
to come get something to eat ;-)

What I meant was, in that output string, the phrase in the middle
could change in length...
After looking at the source code for smartctl (part of the
smartmontools package for you linux people) I found the switch that
creates those status messages.... they vary in character length, some
with non-text characters like ( and ) and /, and have either 3 or 4

The spaces between each column, instead of being a fixed number of
spaces each, were seemingly arbitrarily created... there may be 4
spaces between two columns or there may be 9, or 7 or who knows what,
and since they were all being treated as individual spaces instead of
tabs or something, I was having trouble splitting the output into
something that was easy to parse (at least in my mind it seemed that

Anyway, that's that... and I do apologize if my original post was
confusing at all...


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