> The 'sort' utility wants to sort line-based output.
Yes, and that is precisely what makes it useless. And actually, it can't even sort lines properly; try sorting, say, the output of ps by ppid or something. Yeah, it's doable, but it's messy, and it needn't be.
> I wrote that paragraph before I noticed that I already have a sort-dctrl program on my system; it's part of dctrl-tools. Unfortunately it doesn't actually work with aptitude's output; aptitude doesn't output deb822 data... it doesn't use a . to represent blank lines in its fields. :)
That pretty much proves the point. Now we already have two sorting utilities that are useless as they can't sort what I want them two. Contrast with PowerShell's Sort-Object, which makes it trivial to sort processes listed by Get-Process.
> Anyway, I actually agree that PowerShell is pretty cool. I find it utterly unusable, however, because it's still welded to the utterly dreadful excuse for a terminal emulator that is conhost.exe.
The terminal emulator can easily be replaced, for example with this one: http://sourceforge.net/projects/console/
On the other hand, a fundamental problem like the lack of some kind of structured data exchange format can't be solved that easily.