How to View Configuration Files Without Comments in Linux?

You can use the grep command to for this purpose. The following command will enable you view the current configurations for PHP 7.1 without any comments, it will remove lines starting with the ; character which is used for commenting.


Note that since; is a special shell character, you need to use the \ escape character to change its meaning in the command.

$ grep ^[^\;] /etc/php/7.1/cli/php.ini


In most configuration files, the # character is used for commenting out a line, so you can use the following command.

$ grep ^[^#] /etc/postfix/


What if you have lines starting with some spaces or tabs other then # or ; character?. You can use the following command which should also remove empty spaces or lines in the output.

$ egrep -v "^$|^[[:space:]]*;" /etc/php/7.1/cli/php.ini 
$ egrep -v "^$|^[[:space:]]*#" /etc/postfix/


From the above example, the -v switch means show non-matching lines; instead of showing matched lines (it actually inverts the meaning of matching) and in the pattern “^$|^[[:space:]]*#”:

^$ – enables for deleting empty spaces.

^[[:space:]]*# or ^[[:space:]]*; – enables matching of lines that starting with # or ; or “some spaces/tabs.

| – the infix operator joins the two regular expressions.


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