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awk is great for this usage:

#  pip freeze |awk 'BEGIN {FS="=="};{print $1}'| parallel pip install
--upgrade {}

That's it. Ten years ago, awk was ten years obsolete.  I hate to come
to the surface in this fashion, after cheerfully lurking for weeks but
awk?  Over perl?

Lua is a great language, suble and full of precision. I am loving it's
use, and look forward to using it for years, but, what does the gospel

"Don't bring a knife to a gunfight."

#if you find perl messier than bash... and slower than awk, then
groupthink has won. Bash! pfft