Questions about bash only, as opposed to other Bourne/POSIX shells. For all Bourne/POSIX-style shells, use the /shell tag instead.

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4
votes
3answers
3k views

Best practice to use $? in bash?

When I read this answer about $? another question comes to mind. Is there any best practice for how to use $? in bash? Let's have a example: We have a linear script and I we would like to know ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

Why is iterating over a file twice faster than reading it into memory and computing twice?

I'm comparing the following tail -n 1000000 stdout.log | grep -c '"success": true' tail -n 1000000 stdout.log | grep -c '"success": false' with the following log=$(tail -n 1000000 stdout.log) echo ...
24
votes
6answers
9k views

How to print only defined variables (shell and/or environment variables) in bash

The bash builtin command set, if invoked without arguments, will print all shell and environment variables, but also all defined functions. This makes the output unusable for humans and difficult to ...
16
votes
2answers
44k views

How to display open file descriptors but not using lsof command

Hi I have read Here that lsof is not an accurate way of getting the number of File Descriptors that are currently open. He recommended to use this command instead cat /proc/sys/fs/file-nr While ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How to do a continous 'wc -l' with gnu texttools?

I know of course that cat logfile.txt | wc -l 120 will tell me the number of lines in a file. Whereas tail -f logfile.txt will show me the new lines that another program writes to logfile.txt. ...
12
votes
4answers
17k views

How to get milliseconds since Unix epoch?

I want to do a bash script that measures the launch time of a browser for that I am using an html which gets the time-stamp on-load in milliseconds using JavaScript. In the shell script just before i ...
39
votes
4answers
1k views

What exactly is an environment variable?

I know that VARIABLE=value creates an environment variable, and export VARIABLE=value makes it available to processes created by the current shell. env shows the current environment variables, but ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

Why shouldn't someone use passwords in the command line?

Why do people fear writing passwords in the command line? The history file is located in ~/.history, so it's available only to the user who executed the commands (and root).
22
votes
3answers
14k views

How to remove “You have mail” welcome message

When I open up my terminal it says "you have mail", anyone has any idea of why? I am running OS X, but since it too is based on Unix and relies on files such as bashrc, bash_profile etc. I thought ...
20
votes
3answers
12k views

Can't use exclamation mark (!) in bash?

I'm trying to use the curl command to access a http url with a exclamation mark (!) in its path. e.g: curl -v "http://example.org/!287s87asdjh2/somepath/someresource" the console replies with bash: ...
17
votes
2answers
929 views

^x^y unix trick for all instances in last command?

One of my favorite Unix tricks is ^x^y, which will take the last command and replace the first instance of "x" with "y". However, I'm wondering if a similar trick works to replace all instances of "x" ...
16
votes
6answers
12k views

How to create a sequence with leading zeroes using brace expansion

When I use the following, I get a result as expected: $ echo {8..10} 8 9 10 How can I use this brace expansion in an easy way, to get the following output? $ echo {8..10} 08 09 10 I now that ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I configure bash to execute “clear” before every command typed in the console?

I would like to configure bash to execute clear command every time I type some command in the terminal (before executing my command). How can I do that? I'm using Debian Linux.
14
votes
5answers
18k views

#!/bin/bash - no such file or directory

I've created a bash script but when I try to execute it, I get #!/bin/bash no such file or directory I need to run the command: bash script.sh for it to work. How can I fix this?
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Can't indent heredoc to match nesting's indent

If there's a "First World Problems" for scripting, this would be it. I have the following code in a script I'm updating: if [ $diffLines -eq 1 ]; then dateLastChanged=$(stat --format '%y' ...
8
votes
2answers
7k views

What do square brackets mean without the “if” on the left? [duplicate]

As far as I know, square brackets are used to enclose an expression usually in if else statements. But I found square brackets being used without the "if" as follows: [ -r /etc/profile.d/java.sh ] ...
7
votes
2answers
41k views

how can I add (subtract, etc.) two numbers with bash?

I can read the numbers and operation in with: echo "First number please" read num1 echo "Second mumber please" read num2 echo "Operation?" read op but then all my attempts to add the numbers fail: ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there any book , Tutorial on very very advanced shell scripting [closed]

I am looking for some tutorial where a simple script is written using very advanced methods so that i can learn more from
5
votes
3answers
6k views

History command inside bash script

I have been bashing my head to write a simple history script for the last two days. History is a shell-built in command I couldn't able to use that within a BASH script. So, Is there a way attain this ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I use tee to redirect to grep

I don't have much experience of using tee, so I hope this is not very basic. After viewing one of the answers to this question I came across a strange beheviour with tee. In order for me to output ...
25
votes
3answers
1k views

Multicolored Grep

I'm trying to get each grep command to highlight it's results in a different color. I can do it manually with a line like this: ls -l GREP_COLORS='mt=01;32' grep c | GREP_COLORS='mt=01;31' grep o | ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “rm is hashed” mean?

I'm going through http://mywiki.wooledge.org/BashGuide/CommandsAndArguments and came across this: $ type rm rm is hashed (/bin/rm) $ type cd cd is a shell builtin Just a little earlier, the guide ...
9
votes
3answers
769 views

How to pipe the list of commands displayed by of “tab complete”?

When using commands in bash I like the double tab option to display the available commands. Some commands have more possible matches than others: Is there a way I can pipe the output of the double ...
8
votes
3answers
24k views

Recursive chmod only folders or only files via script or nautilus menu?

This has been discussed before here. What I'd like to know is how to turn these: Recursive chmod only files within this folder: find . -type f -exec chmod 0600 {} \; Recursive chmod only folders ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Use the command bar in bash without I/O?

I really like the look of the output of bar But that script is only used for Input/Output operations. How can I use it as a replacement for sleep but with visual feedback? sleep 10
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Autocomplete server names for SSH and SCP

I have a few servers configured in ~/.ssh/config, such as alpha and beta. How might I configure Bash such that the commands ssh al<tab> and scp file.tgz al<tab> autocomplete the names of ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Reading character by character with bash read

I've been trying to use bash to read a file character by character. After much trial and error, I have discovered that this works: exec 4<file.txt declare -i n while read -r ch <&4; ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Copy text from one terminal into another

I am logged into ssh to a university account from my home computer. Then I find a file that I want to copy onto my local system. So I open a new shell terminal and am about to use scp to copy that ...
21
votes
4answers
18k views

How to delete line with echo?

I know that I could delete the last three chars with: echo -ne '\b\b\b' But how can I delete a full line? I mean I dont want to use: echo -ne ...
19
votes
5answers
5k views

Parenthesis in bash arithmetic: 3 * (2 + 1)

expr does not seem to like parenthesis (used in mathematics to explicit operator priority): expr 3 * (2 + 1) bash: syntax error near unexpected token `(' How to express operator priority in bash?
15
votes
4answers
5k views

Setting IFS for a single statement

I know that a custom IFS value can be set for the scope of a single command/built-in. Is there a way to set a custom IFS value for a single statement?? Apparently not, since based on the below the ...
14
votes
5answers
30k views

Using the system date / time in a Cron Script

I'm setting up a Cronjob that will backup a MySQL database I have in my server, but I don't want it to keep overwriting the same file over and over again. Instead, I want to have an array of backups ...
13
votes
2answers
11k views

/dev/tcp listen instead of nc listen

With a netcat listener like: nc -l <port> < ~/.bashrc I can grab my .bashrc on a new machine (doesn't have nc or LDAP) with: cat < /dev/tcp/<ip>/<port> > ~/.bashrc My ...
7
votes
2answers
732 views

Why is `tac file | grep foo' (piping) faster than `grep foo < <(tac file)' (process substitution)?

This question was motivated by "Reverse grepping", about grepping a huge file from bottom up. @chaos said: tac file | grep whatever Or a bit more effective: grep whatever < <(tac file) ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Configure up-arrow to browse through commands with same initial characters rather than all previous commands

On the bash command-line, ↑ gives me the previous command. On the command-lines in numpy or matlab, when I type a few characters, ↑ gives me the previously entered command starting with those ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

Manipulate file name piped from find command

I'm relatively new to Bash and am trying to do something that on the surface seemed pretty straightforward - run find over a directory hierarchy to get all of the *.wma files, pipe that output to a ...
6
votes
3answers
278 views

Which bash will expand {1..$VAR} in the same way that zsh does

In response to a comment of mine to this question on SF the OP asserts that the for i in {1..$NUM} expands correctly in bash. I have access to bash 4.0.33 (Ubuntu), 3.2.25 (Centos) and 3.00.16(1) ...
4
votes
4answers
9k views

Is there an online bash script testing site?

Sometimes I need to help friends with bash scripting. When I'm on a Windows machine, it's a working environment and I can't just setup Cygwin or use a VM. Is there some free scripting website I can ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

cp vs. cat to copy a file

cp a b and cat a > b, what's the difference? In x86 install script of linux kernel's source tree (arch/x86/boot/install.sh), both are used: cat $2 > $4/vmlinuz cp $3 $4/System.map Why don't ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to run streamripper and mplayer in a split-screen X terminal, via a single script

I want to run streamripper in its own X Terminal (window), then split the terminal horizontally, and then run mplayer in the lower half. This is simple enough to do manually, but getting a script to ...
3
votes
3answers
592 views

Rename multiple directories decrementing sequence number?

I have a directory which contains a number of subdirectories with names on the format dir.##. The prefix is always the same, and the suffix is 1-3 digits in a strictly incrementing sequence. Thus, ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Compress a directory using tar/gz over SSH to local computer?

I'd like to essentially tar/gz a directory on a remote machine and save the file to my local computer without having to connect back into my local machine from the remote one. Is there a way to do ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you enter a directory that's name is only a minus?

I downloaded lessn to my webserver and unzipped it. It contains a folder named -. I assumed I know how to deal with that, but I don't. I tried cd -- -, but that doesn't have the desired effect. ...
19
votes
5answers
6k views

How can I create an alias for a git [action] command (which includes spaces)?

Most of my my aliases are of this form: alias p='pwd' I want to alias git commit so that it does git commit -v But trying to create an alias with a space gives an error: $ alias 'git commit'='git ...
18
votes
2answers
6k views

Are there naming conventions for variables in shell scripts?

Most languages have naming conventions for variables, the most common style I see in shell scripts is MY_VARIABLE=foo. Is this the convention or is it only for global variables? What about variables ...
14
votes
3answers
19k views

Comparing two strings in Bash

I have the following if block in my bash script: if [ ${PACKAGENAME} -eq kakadu-v6_4-00902C ]; then echo "successfully entered if block!!" fi The script execution is not entering my if block even ...
14
votes
2answers
944 views

How can one time out a root shell after a certain period of time?

Is there a way to 'time out' a root shell (for example, in gnome-terminal) so that after a certain amount of time not issuing any commands, the shell exits? I'm searching for a solution that works in ...
12
votes
2answers
12k views

Solving “mv: Argument list too long”?

I have a folder with more than a million files that needs sorting, but I cant really do anything because mv outputs this message all the time -bash: /bin/mv: Argument list too long I'm using this ...
12
votes
3answers
16k views

Confusing use of && and || operators

I was skimming through an /etc/rc.d/init.d/sendmail file (I know this is hardly ever used, but I'm studying for an exam), and I've become a bit confused about the && and the || operators. ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Closing a file descriptor, >&- vs <&-

In the bash tutorial I am reading, it says that if you open a file descriptor for reading, i.e. exec 3< echolist Then you must close it like this, exec 3<&- However, if you open a file ...