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sort is way slow by default. This tells sort to use a buffer equal to half of the available free memory. It also will use multiple process for the sort equal to the number of cpus on your machine (if greater than 1). For me, it is magnitudes faster.
If you put this in your bash_profile or startup file, it will be set correctly when bash is started.
sort -S1 --parallel=2 <(echo) &>/dev/null && alias sortfast='sort -S$(($(sed '\''/MemF/!d;s/[^0-9]*//g'\'' /proc/meminfo)/2048)) $([ `nproc` -gt 1 ]&&echo -n --parallel=`nproc`)'
echo|sort -S10M --parallel=2 &>/dev/null && alias sortfast="command sort -S$(($(sed '/MemT/!d;s/[^0-9]*//g' /proc/meminfo)/1024-200)) --parallel=$(($(command grep -c ^proc /proc/cpuinfo)*2))"
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