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Cloud9 should no longer use find or grep as part of its server processes. The reason is that there are far too many peculiarities to keep track of between problems such as:

  • BSD or GNU differences
  • Issues with compiling PCRE
  • Issues with keeping track of regular expression handling (e.g., JavaScript's regular expression patterns closely match Perl, while even with PCRE some workarounds need to be made)
  • Portability (aside from BSD/GNU, there's Windows and Solaris to consider, depending on a user's SSH workspace)

In this directory are two alternatives.


ag is C program modled after ack, which is considerably faster than grep and find. We can define a default .agignore file (found here) to omit standard annoyances. Users can then create their own .agignore files in their directories to omit further results.

Since ag needs to be compiled, we ought to provide the (tiny) binary for users' platforms.


In the event that a user's platform is not supported by ag, we fall back to the Perl ack.

For various reasons, ack 1.96, the latest stable, omits a lot of niceities that ag provides, such as the ability to filter directories or patterns based on filename.

ack 2.0 solves some of these issues, but it's been under development for over two years, and shows no sign of rapid completion.

Therefore, the ack provided here is modified from the original source. It's not just a copy of what you get when you run make from the ack repo. Don't just overrride it! Changes have been made in the source and annotated with comments prefixed with # CHANGE:.

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