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You are making the regular expression engine do a lot of extra work by:

1) Using capturing parenthesis instead of noncapturing ones .
2) Even a non-greedy dot-star is bad (see Death to Dot Star!). Use a negated character class like [^\]]* instead.
3) Excessive going in and out from parenthesis levels, as in the [^\[] expression following the "|", which ought to have a "+" after it.

These inefficiencies are probably causing the regular expression engine to go wild and run out of memory. By the way, why not use module Text:Balanced instead?

Update: Here is a brushed-up version with my suggestions added:

if ($text =~ /^ (?: # Any amount of: (?: \[ # An open brace [^\]]* # Any amount of non-brace stuff \] # A close brace ) | # Or [^\[]+ # Anything that's not an open brac +e. )* \] # Followed by a close brace /xs

Update2: After recommending Text::Balanced for this problem, I decided to try it for myself. I would have expected the following code to work, but it doesn't (I get the error: and it does work as long as you test for the following message as an acceptable case: "Did not find opening bracket after prefix: "[^\[]*", detected at offset 1216". The message just means you have passed all the brackets, which is fine.

my $next; while ( $next = (extract_bracketed($text,'[]','[^\[]*'))[0] ) { print "found matching brackets: *$next*\n"; } print "found bracket error: $@\n" if $@;

In reply to Re: OS X vs. My Regex by tall_man
in thread OS X vs. My Regex by Pedro Picasso

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