Grep lines that do not begin with ‘#’ or ‘;’

Recently, we wanted to modify  the squid configuration file, which is really really big!

wc -l /etc/squid/squid.conf
7898 /etc/squid/squid.conf

We wanted to find all active rules that are enabled to modify our proxy server. Out of those ~8K lines less than 20 are actually active configuration, the rest is documentation.

To find all active configuration lines we needed to find all lines that:

  • are not empty
  • do not start with #
  • do not start with ;

To do this we used the following grep command

grep "^[^#;]" /etc/squid/squid.conf

The first ^ refers to the beginning of the line, this way if in a line there is some configuration and after that there is a comment it will not be excluded by mistake. The rest, [^#;] matches any character which is not # or ;.

This is what was actually in my configuration file (out of ~8K lines)

acl SSL_ports port 443
acl Safe_ports port 80        # http
acl Safe_ports port 21        # ftp
acl Safe_ports port 443        # https
acl Safe_ports port 70        # gopher
acl Safe_ports port 210        # wais
acl Safe_ports port 1025-65535    # unregistered ports
acl Safe_ports port 280        # http-mgmt
acl Safe_ports port 488        # gss-http
acl Safe_ports port 591        # filemaker
acl Safe_ports port 777        # multiling http
http_access deny !Safe_ports
http_access deny CONNECT !SSL_ports
http_access allow localhost manager
http_access deny manager
http_access allow localhost
http_access deny all
http_port 3128
coredump_dir /var/spool/squid
refresh_pattern ^ftp:        1440    20%    10080
refresh_pattern ^gopher:    1440    0%    1440
refresh_pattern -i (/cgi-bin/|\?) 0    0%    0
refresh_pattern (Release|Packages(.gz)*)$      0       20%     2880
refresh_pattern .        0    20%    4320

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