Linux Fu: Preprocessing Beyond Code

If you glanced at the title and thought, “I don’t care — I don’t write C code,” then hang on a minute. While it is true that C has a preprocessor and you can notoriously do strange and — depending on your point of view — horrible or wonderful things with it, there are actually other options and you don’t have to use any of them with a C program. You can actually use the C preprocessor with almost any kind of text file. And it’s not the only preprocessor you can abuse this way. For example, the m4 preprocessor is wildly complex, vastly underused, and can handle C source code or anything else you care to send to it.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at