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

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14
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7answers
6k views

How to detect the desktop environment in a bash script?

I am writing a bash script that needs to know which desktop environment (XFCE, Unity, KDE, LXDE, Mate, Cinnamon, GNOME2, GNOME3,... ) is running. How can I obtain that information?
14
votes
2answers
37k views

sudo: unable to execute ./script.sh: no such file or directory

I'm stumped. I have a script in my /home directory which is executable: [user@server ~]$ ll total 4 -rwx------ 1 user user 2608 Jul 15 18:23 qa.sh However, when I attempt to run it with sudo it ...
14
votes
9answers
1k views

Filter or pipe certain sections of a file

I have an input file with some sections the are demarcated with start and end tags, for example: line A line B @@inline-code-start line X line Y line Z @@inline-code-end line C line D I want to ...
14
votes
9answers
7k views

Test if multiple variables are set

I'd like to make sure that at a certain point of a script, after sourceing a configuration file, several variables are set and, if they are not, to stop execution, telling the user about the missing ...
14
votes
4answers
6k views

How to make bash abort the execution of a script on syntax error?

To be on safe side, I'd like bash abort the execution of a script if it encounters a syntax error. To my surprise, I can't achieve this. (set -e is not enough.) Example: #!/bin/bash # Do exit on ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

keep duplicates out of $PATH on source [duplicate]

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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Correct behavior of EXIT and ERR traps when using `set -eu`

I'm observing some weird behavior when using set -e (errexit), set -u (nounset) along with ERR and EXIT traps. They seem related, so putting them into one question seems reasonably. 1) set -u does ...
13
votes
2answers
11k views

Bash: run command2 if command1 fails

I want to do something like this: if cmd1 && cmd2 echo success else echo epic fail fi How should I do it?
13
votes
4answers
12k views

What is the meaning of $? in a shell script?

When going through one shell script, I saw the term "$?". What is the significance of this term?
13
votes
4answers
947 views

How do I run a command and get its exit code in fewer characters?

I used to write my scripts like this: some_command while [ $? -ne 0 ] ; do sleep 1 some_command done It always irked me that I have to write some_command twice. Can I put it inside the loop ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Convert underscore to PascalCase, ie UpperCamelCase

If I have a string that looks like this: "this_is_the_string" Inside bash script, I would like to convert it to PascalCase, ie UpperCamelCase to look like this: "ThisIsTheString" I found that ...
13
votes
5answers
42k views

How do I append text to the beginning and end of multiple text files in Bash?

I have a directory full of text files. My goal is to append text to the beginning and end of all of them. The text that goes at the beginning and end is the same for each file. Based on code I got ...
13
votes
8answers
32k views

gpg asks for password even with --passphrase

I expect the following command to extract the gpg file without asking for password: gpg --passphrase 1234 file.gpg But it asks for the password. Why? This also have the same behavior: gpg ...
13
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
741 views

Why does “bash -x” break this script?

I have a script which measures how long some command executes. It needs the "real" time command, meaning, a binary for example in /usr/bin/time (as the bash-built-in doesn't have the -fflag). Below, ...
13
votes
7answers
12k views

A bash function that takes argument like other languages?

I have a bash function to set the $PATH like this -- assign-path() { str=$1 # if the $PATH is empty, assign it directly. if [ -z $PATH ]; then PATH=$str; # if the $PATH does ...
13
votes
1answer
386 views

Where are bash line continuations after && and || documented?

I have seen this construct in scripts a lot and used it myself, but it bothers me that I can't seem to find it in the documentation. Example: [ -f file1 ] && [ -f file2 ] && echo ...
13
votes
2answers
693 views

When running a shell script, is it possible to pass specific positional parameters without having to enter them all in order?

For example, if I have script ./foo that takes 10 parameters, and I only want to pass the 8th parameter. The only way I know how to do this currently is: ./foo '' '' '' '' '' '' '' 'bar' Is there ...
13
votes
1answer
26k views

how to set environment variables from a shell script? [duplicate]

I'm trying to set environment variable through a shell script. Here is the script with various techniques: #!/bin/sh echo "export SOMEPATH=/root/some" >> /root/.bash_profile echo "export ...
13
votes
4answers
29k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
15k views

What is the purpose of using shift in bash scripts?

I have came across this script: #! /bin/bash ...
13
votes
6answers
47k views

Add lines to the beginning and end of the huge file

I have the scenario where lines to be added on begining and end of the huge files. I have tried as shown below. for the first line: sed -i '1i\'"$FirstLine" $Filename for the last line: sed -i ...
13
votes
3answers
18k views

How do I concatenate all the files in a given directory in order of date, where I want the newest file on top?

And with the oldest file on bottom? Also, if I do this, is it also possible to strip out the redundant headers contained within each HTML file? I'm seeing myself concatenate a lot of HTML files up, ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How to safely pass variables to root-enabled scripts?

This question is totally general and not only applicable to my situation, but... I have a small busybox appliance where I want a non-root user to be able to execute a particular script with root ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

How does a fork bomb work?

WARNING DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RUN THIS ON A PRODUCTION MACHINE In reading the Wikipedia page on the topic I generally follow what's going on with the following code: :(){ :|:& };: excerpt of ...
13
votes
3answers
737 views

When to use redirection to stderr in shell scripts

I know that well-behaved utilities like grep output "normal" messages to stdout, and error messages to stderr. $ grep '^foo' file1 file2 file1:foo grep: file2: No such file or directory When I'm ...
13
votes
3answers
520 views

When does `ls -s` print “0”

Of course, the standard way of testing if a file is empty is with test -s FILE, but one of our clients have received a script containing tests like this: RETVAL=`ls -s ./log/cr_trig.log | awk '{print ...
12
votes
5answers
16k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

find and remove duplicates in a directory

I have a directory with multiple img files and some of them are identical but they all have different names. I need to remove duplicates but with no external tools only with a bash script. I'm a ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

bash if not multiple conditions without subshell?

I want to combine multiple conditions in a shell if statement, and negate the combination. I have the following working code for a simple combination of conditions: if [ -f file1 ] && [ -f ...
12
votes
5answers
5k views

Get total duration of video files in a directory

I have a list of .ts files: out1.ts ... out749.ts out8159.ts out8818.ts How can I get the total duration (running time) of all these files?
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Recursively create directories for all letters

I want to create a directory in such a way that I need to label the directories from a to z. Inside each of these directories, I need to create sub-directories so that they are labelled as aa, ab etc. ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

When to use a semi-colon between environment variables and a command

Can anyone explain why the semi-colon is necessary in order for the LANG to be seen as updated by bash? Doesn't work: > LANG=Ja_JP bash -c "echo $LANG" en_US Works: > LANG=Ja_JP ; bash -c ...
12
votes
5answers
25k views

Binary to hexadecimal and decimal in a shell script

I have a context where I need to convert binary to hexadecimal and decimal and viceversa in a shell script. Can someone suggest me a tool for this?
12
votes
3answers
7k views

chmod + silent mode + how force exit code 0 in spite of error

Is it possible execute chmod and ignore error from command Example ( remark file.txt not exsist to show the example ) When I type chmod 777 file.txt I get error on the output chmod: cannot ...
12
votes
7answers
8k views

Print shell arguments in reverse order

I am a bit stuck. My task is to print the arguments to my script in reverse order except the third and fourth. What I have is this code: #!/bin/bash i=$# for arg in "$@" do case $i in ...
12
votes
2answers
25k views

In a bash shell script, writing a for loop that iterates over string values

In bash, I know that it is possible to write a for loop in which some loop control variable i iterates over specified integers. For example, I can write a bash shell script that prints the integers ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I wait on a program started in another shell

I have a program that does a large a amount of work (takes about 4-5 hours) that gets started by cron when all the data it works with becomes available. Sometimes, when I am waiting for it to finish, ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

what is the zsh equivalent of bash's export -f

So I started using zsh. I like it all right. It seems very cool and slick, and the fact that the current working directory and actual command line are on different lines is nice, but at the same time, ...
12
votes
1answer
135 views

POSIX equivalent for GNU timeout?

The GNU coreutils timeout command is extremely handy for certain scripting situations, allowing for using the output of a command if it is quick to run, and skipping it if it would take too long. How ...
12
votes
0answers
359 views

Should I use $* or $@? [duplicate]

Which one of $* or $@ is better to use (in array syntax,command line parameters, etc.) to avoid any bugs/problems in code? Or it does not make any difference?
11
votes
8answers
9k views

Is there a unix command that gives the maximum of two numbers?

I was looking for a command to limit numbers read in from stdin. I wrote a little script for that purpose (critique is welcome), but I was wondering if there was not a standard command for this, ...
11
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
13k views

generate consistent machine unique ID

Can we generate a unique id for each PC, something like uuuidgen, but it will never change unless there are hardware changes? I was thinking about merging CPUID and MACADDR and hash them to generate ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Using “reserved” codes for exit status of shell scripts

I recently came across this list of Exit Codes With Special Meanings from the Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide. They refer to these codes as being reserved and recommend that: According to the above ...
11
votes
2answers
16k views

Bash scripting - loop until return value is 0

I need to umount something in my script, but sometimes it unmount's before all of the data has finished being copied and causes the umount to fail. I looked for a way to do a "blocking" umount, but I ...
11
votes
7answers
4k views

Shortest way to extract last 3 characters of base (minus suffix) filename

I'm trying to set a variable in an sh script to the last 3 characters of the base name of a file (by base name I mean without the path and without the suffix). I've succeeded in doing this but, purely ...
11
votes
3answers
10k views

Get path of current script when executed through a symlink

I have a utility consisting of a couple directories with some bash scripts and supporting files that will be deployed to several machines possibly in a different directory on each machine. The ...
11
votes
4answers
685 views

Fast method of splitting string from textfile?

I have a two text files: string.txt and lengths.txt String.txt: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz lengths.txt 5 4 10 7 I want to get the file >Entry_1 abcde >Entry_2 fghi >Entry_3 jklmnopqrs ...
11
votes
5answers
17k views

Delete range of lines above pattern with sed (or awk)

I have the following code that will remove lines with the pattern banana and 2 lines after it: sed '/banana/I,+2 d' file So far, so good! But I need it to remove 2 lines before banana, but I can't ...