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Is there way for a bash script to know if it is running in the foreground or background, and so it can behave slightly differently in each case?

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Note that a process can move from foreground to background and vice versa because of job control. – Barmar Mar 12 '14 at 18:45
You may also be interested in knowing if the script is running from an interactive shell – gnp Mar 18 '14 at 15:45

2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Quoting man ps:


   Here are the different values that the s, stat and state output
   specifiers (header "STAT" or "S") will display to describe the state of
   a process.
   +    is in the foreground process group

So you could perform a simple check:

case $(ps -o stat= -p $$) in
  *+*) echo "Running in foreground" ;;
  *) echo "Running in background" ;;
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Look at the file /etc/bash.bashrc".

The line that has "$PS1". Then do a "man bash" and look for the token PS1.

[ -z "$PS1" ] && return

exits a script that is not interactive.

Hope this helps.

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