Questions about shell scripts, executable files that are interpreted by a shell (bash, zsh, etc.).

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34
votes
2answers
2k views

$VAR vs ${VAR} and to quote or not to quote

I can write VAR=$VAR1 VAR=${VAR1} VAR="$VAR1" VAR="${VAR1}" the end result to me all seems about the same. Why should I write one or the other? are any of these not portable/POSIX?
137
votes
10answers
12k views

In Bash, when to alias, when to script, and when to write a function?

It's taken me almost 10 years of Linux usage to ask this question. It was all trial and error and random late-night internet surfing. But people shouldn't need 10 years for this. If I were just ...
55
votes
5answers
8k views

Why is it better to use “#!/usr/bin/env NAME” instead of “#!/path/to/NAME” as my shebang?

I notice that some scripts which I have acquired from others have the shebang #!/path/to/NAME while others (using the same tool, NAME) have the shebang #!/usr/bin/env NAME. Both seem to work ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Storing output of command in shell variable

I have an operation using cut that I would like to assign result to a variable var4=echo ztemp.xml |cut -f1 -d '.' I get the error: ztemp.xml is not a command The value of var4 never gets ...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

File descriptors & shell scripting

I am having a very hard time understanding how does one use file descriptors in shell scripts. I know the basics such as exec 5 > /tmp/foo So fd 5 is attached to foo for writing. exec 6 < ...
10
votes
1answer
471 views

When is double-quoting necessary?

The old advice used to be to double-quote any expression involving a $VARIABLE, at least if one wanted it to be interpreted by the shell as one single item, otherwise, any spaces in the content of ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I handle switches in a shell script?

Are there some built-in tools that will recognize -x and --xxxx as switches, and not arguments, or do you have to go through all the input variables, test for dashes, and then parse the arguments ...
19
votes
8answers
12k views

Different ways to execute a shell script

There a several ways to execute a script, the ones I know are: /path/to/script # using the path (absolute or relative) . script # using the . (dot) source script # using the `source` command ...
8
votes
4answers
532 views

Bash- detect init system

This may have more to do with detecting operating systems, but I specifically need the init system currently in use on the system. Fedora 15 now uses systemd, Ubuntu uses Upstart, while others use ...
26
votes
9answers
11k views

Correct locking in shell scripts?

Sometimes you have to make sure that only one instance of a shell script is running at the same time. For example a cron job which is executed via crond that does not provide locking on its own (e.g. ...
18
votes
5answers
12k views

Split pages in pdf

I have a scanned pdf file which has scanned two pages on one virtual page (page in pdf file). The resolution is with good quality. The problem is I have to zoom when reading and drag from left to the ...
15
votes
3answers
663 views

What is the difference between [[ $a == z* ]] and [ $a == z* ]?

Is there is any difference between these two. [[ $a == z* ]] and [ $a == z* ] Can I have an example where they would have different outputs? Furthermore, how does the working of [[ ]] differs ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Parallelizing a for loop

I want to parallelize the for loops of the following code. How to do this? #!/bin/bash N=$1 n=$2 for (( i=1; i<=$N; i++ )); do min=100000000000000 //set min to some garbage value for (( ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is my variable being localized in one 'while read' loop, but not in another seemingly similar loop

Why do I get different values for $x from the snippets below? #!/bin/bash x=1 echo fred>junk ; while read var ; do x=55 ; done <junk echo x=$x # x=55 .. I'd expect this result x=1 cat ...
7
votes
6answers
6k views

Shell script for moving oldest files?

How do I write a script for moving just the 20 oldest files from one folder to another? Is there a way to grab the oldest files in a folder?
4
votes
4answers
404 views

Check for Process if Same is Running

Is there a script or a way in linux that when I try to execute a shell script/process, if the same is running, it will prompt that same is running and will exit otherwise it will continue.
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Execute bash scripts on entering a directory

What is the best way to execute a script when entering into a directory? When I move into a new directory I would like bash to execute the projectSettings.bash script much like RVM does.
5
votes
4answers
5k views

Text between two tags

I wanna retrieve whatever is between these two tags – <tr> </tr> – from an html doc. Now I don't have any specific html requirements that would warrant for an html parser. I just plain ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

What purpose does the colon builtin serve?

I've hacked on a lot of shell scripts, and sometimes the simplest things baffle me. Today I ran across a script that made extensive use of the : (colon) bash builtin. The documenation seems simple ...
13
votes
4answers
742 views

keep duplicates out of $PATH on source

I have the following code that's source-d by my .shellrc PATH="${PATH}:${HOME}/perl5/bin" PATH="${PATH}:${HOME}/.bin" export PATH but if I make changes to other code and then source this file, my ...
5
votes
8answers
3k views

Can shell variable include - character?

I am not able to use - in variables in shell. Is there a way to be able to use it, because I have one script which depends on such named variables: $export a-b=c -bash: export: `a-b=c': not a valid ...
21
votes
2answers
715 views

Should I care about unnecessary cats?

A lot of command-line utilities can take their input either from a pipe or as a filename argument. For long shell scripts, I find starting the chain off with a cat makes it more readable, especially ...
11
votes
2answers
580 views

running script with “. ” and with “source ”

I was wondering if the following two ways of running a bash script are equivalent? . ./myScript.sh source myScript.sh Are they both running the content of the script instead of running the script, ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there a way to sum up the size of files listed?

This is the command I am using to list some files: find . -name \*.extract.sys -size +1000000c -exec ls -lrt {} \; -rw-r--r-- 1 qa1wrk15 test 1265190 Sep 29 01:14 ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

How can one run multiple programs in the background with single command?

How can one run multiple programs in the background with single command? I have tried the commands below, but they do not work. nohup ./script1.sh & && nohup ./script2.sh & -bash: ...
14
votes
3answers
594 views

Newlines in filenames

I understand and accept the premise that defensive1 shell scripting is both prudent and, in the longer term, more sustainable. Many of the answers to text processing questions here follow this ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Executing user defined function in a find -exec call

I'm on Solaris 10 and I have tested the following with ksh (88), bash (3.00) and zsh (4.2.1). The following code doesn't yield any result: function foo { echo "Hello World" } find somedir -exec ...
6
votes
1answer
175 views

Parallel execution of bash script

I have a table URL_Experiment in my database (mySQL database). I have 2 million URL links in this table. For each URL, I am checking if some particular text is present in the URL and updating the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Arg list too long error while using find

I have the find command as follows: find /jobs/logs/* -prune -name '*.log' -type f -mtime +1 | while read LOGFILE do echo $LOGFILE done This is failing due to the following ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Bash Script getting stuck during execution

I have a bash script that is reading a CSV file , that contains source IP address , destination IP address and destination port. My script is basically doing 2 tests: 1 Performance 2 Connectivity. ...
2
votes
2answers
137 views

Directories are listed twice

I have something odd. I creates some directories using a very simple script : ... create all directories ( running under a user that has the correct rights ) e.g : mkdir -p ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

How can I detect if the shell is controlled from SSH?

I want to detect from a shell script (more specifically .zshrc) if it is controlled through SSH. I tried the HOST variable but it's always the name of the computer which is running the shell. Can I ...
13
votes
6answers
8k views

How to get my own IP address and save it to a variable in a shell script?

How can I get my own IP address and save it to a variable in a shell script?
5
votes
4answers
690 views

Is there any book , Tutorial on very very advanced shell scripting

I am looking for some tutorial where a simple script is written using very advanced methods so that i can learn more from
9
votes
2answers
4k views

find n most frequent words in a file

I want to find, say, 10 most common word in a text file. Firstly, solution should be optimized for keystrokes (in other words - my time). Secondly, for the performance. Here is what I have so far to ...
8
votes
2answers
608 views

Measuring time within a script

This thread shows how to measure the time it takes to run a script. In my case, I am interested in measuring time between two points within a script. Here is an example of how I would like to use ...
4
votes
3answers
865 views

Keep running a script via ssh

ssh can use to run remote commands. ssh me@server.com 'long-script.sh' I run a long script that will take a lot of time, but I want to close my computer and keep running the script in the remote ...
14
votes
4answers
12k views

How to introduce timeout for shell scripting?

I want to run a shell script that got a loop in it and it can go for ever which I do not want to happen. So I need to introduce a timeout for the whole script. How can I introduce a timeout for the ...
7
votes
4answers
696 views

What is the easiest way to execute text from tail at the command line?

Sometimes I'm working on a new (ubuntu) box and I type git and am alerted: The program 'git' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing: apt-get install git-core If that happens I ...
6
votes
2answers
4k 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?
4
votes
4answers
227 views

Joining two files with unique identifier

I have two files with approximately 12900 and 4400 entries respectively, that I want to join. The files contain location information for all landbased weather observing stations around the globe. The ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I capture the return status and use tee at the same time in korn shell? [duplicate]

Consider Source code: 1. Parent.sh #!/usr/bin/ksh # No tee ksh Child.sh; exit_status=$?; echo "Exit status: ${exit_status}" # Using tee ksh Child.sh | tee -a log.txt; exit_status=$?; echo "Exit ...
2
votes
2answers
276 views

How do I prevent a script from terminating when the shell exits?

In particular, I created a script to start Firefox which I double-click and choose 'Run in terminal,' but when the shell exits Firefox is killed immediately. How do I prevent this from happening?
5
votes
2answers
860 views

How to tweet using terminal?

I would like to tweet a message using terminal. I tried something like: curl -u 'TwitterUsername':'TwitterPassword' -d status=”Your Message Here” https://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml but seems ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

How to “send” variable to sub-shell?

I run the following script: VAR="Test" sh -c 'echo "Hello $VAR"' But I get : # ./test.sh Hello How can I "send" the variable VAR of my script to the shell created with sh -c?
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Find files which are created a certain time after or before a particular file was created

I need a shell script which finds files which are created 1 hour before or 1 hour after a particular file (test.txt) was created. If I go with find -newer, that means I'd have to create a temporary ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Unix bash script check empty gz files

I'm trying to write a bash script that will go into a directory loop through the .gz files and delete them if they are empty (ie the uncompressed file contained within in empty. I've got a couple of ...
4
votes
4answers
110 views

How to deal with spaces in a variable

I'm working on some scripting: for x in `find ./ -name *.pdf` do echo pathname $x done My filenames are Test1 ( Volume II), Test2 ( Volume II). I'm getting a return of pathname Test1 pathname ( ...
2
votes
4answers
101 views

Parsing process command-line arguments from pargs in a shell script

I get list of PIDs in my bash scripts (Java processes) and have to analyze their command-line arguments to determine which instance of server each PID corresponds to. At the moment I do it that way ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

what is >> symbol and >& in unix/Linux? [duplicate]

I have a CRONTAB entry as below. Can someone tell me what the below statement is exactly doing? 1 0 * * * /vol01/sites/provisioning/MNMS/45627/45627.sh1 >> ...