That’s wizardry for you. How many times have you typed grep ‘^$’?
Do you grep?
grep, the Unix command that searches files for patterns, is one of the most useful Unix utilities. This example here grep ‘^$’ passes a regular expression with two characters: a carrot (^) which means the beginning of line, and a dollar sign ($) which means, end of line. Taken together they say, return me ever blank line – that is, has nothing between beginning and end of line.
Here it is in action. Show me everything that is meaningful in my apache configuration file – that which is not a comment and is not a blank line. The -e allows multiple patterns. The -v of course reverses things, it shows everything not matching the pattern.
grep -ve '^#' -e '^$' apache2.conf | more