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If I understand you correctly you could just use sed to do what you want. Here's an example (and someone please correct me if I get the syntax a little wrong, I'm at work on a Windoze machine and am thinking off the top of my head):
sed -e 's/^#export\ install_path\ =\ \/boot/new_string/' Makefiel
^ the beginning of a line
\ makes symbols (like /) and spaces be read correctly in the argument
thanks for the help, however, i want to replace a string with another string, and put it in the same file, i don't want to make a new file. is this possible,? if not, i guess i can make a c program that does this.
that works for some case, but lets say i have a thousand lines of code, and i want to find a particular line, and change it without opening a the file. Will sed do it? or do i need to use grep and then use sed?