Manipulating Binary Data with Bash

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Bash is known for admin utilities and text manipulation tools, but the venerable command shell included with most Linux systems also has some powerful commands for manipulating binary data.

One of the most versatile scripting environments available on Linux is the Bash shell. The core functionality of Bash includes many mechanisms for tasks such as string processing, mathematical computation, data I/O, and process management. When you couple Bash with the countless command-line utilities available for everything from image processing to virtual machine (VM) management, you have a very powerful scripting platform.

One thing that Bash is not generally known for is its ability to process data at the bit level; however, the Bash shell contains several powerful commands that allow you to manipulate and edit binary data. This article describes some of these binary commands and shows them at work in some practical situations.

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