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In the Unix shell there is no easy way to use a filter program to change the contents of a file in-place. For example, if you want to sort a file in place, this will not work: sort < myfile > myfile All that will get you is an empty myfile. This package gives you the rewrite program, so this will work: rewrite myfile sort A --backup option is provided that will copy the existing file to a backup file before writing the new output. For example, this will create a file called myfile.bak: rewrite --backup bak myfile sort To install, use cabal install rewrite There is also a manpage in the source tarball; to install that, copy it to the right location (typically /usr/local/share/man/man1).