Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date


Technical Report Number



The rise in high-level languages for system administrators requires us to rethink traditional UNIX tools designed for these older data formats. We propose new block-oriented tools, bgrep and bdiff, operating on syntactic blocks of code rather than the line, the traditional information container of UNIX. Transcending the line number allows us to introduce longitudinal diff, a mode of bdiff that lets us track changes across arbitrary blocks of code. We present a detailed implementation roadmap and evaluation framework for the full version of this paper. In addition we demonstrate how the design of our tools already addresses several real-wold problems faced by network administrators to maintain security policy.