The shell is unix's command-line interface. You can type commands in a shell interactively, or write scripts to automate tasks. Use this tag for questions applying to /bin/sh and most compatible shells (ash, bash, ksh, zsh, …).

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3
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a way to push shell config information when SSHing to a host?

I know how to set the GNOME-terminals (or xterms!) prompt to green/red regarding the last exit code: vi .bashrc export PROMPT_COMMAND='PS1="` if [[ \$? = "0" ]]; then echo "\\[\\033[0;32m\\]"; else ...
71
votes
8answers
68k views

Colorizing your terminal and shell environment?

I spend most of my time working in Unix environments and using terminal emulators. I try to use color on the command-lin, because color makes the output more useful and intuitive. What are some good ...
66
votes
8answers
9k views

Why *not* parse `ls`?

I consistently see answers quoting this link stating definitively "Don't parse ls!" This bothers me for a couple of reasons: It seems the information in that link has been accepted wholesale with ...
57
votes
24answers
8k views

Quick directory navigation in the terminal

I would like to frequently switch between directories that are in totally unrelated paths, for example /Project/Warnest/docs/ and ~/Dropbox/Projects/ds/test/. But I don't want to type cd ...
26
votes
5answers
10k views

How to check if a shell is login/interactive/batch

I think I understand the differences between an interactive, a login and a batch shell. See the following links for more help: What is the difference between a 'Login' and an 'Interactive' bash ...
31
votes
5answers
3k views

What are the fundamental differences between the mainstream *NIX shells?

What are the fundamental differences between the mainstream *NIX shells and what scenarios might prompt you to use one over the other? I understand that some of it probably comes down to user ...
28
votes
10answers
10k views

How do I reuse the last output from the command line?

This is a noob question, but I'd like to know how to reuse the last output from the console, ie: pv-3:method Xavier$ python -c "from distutils.sysconfig import get_python_lib; print get_python_lib()" ...
16
votes
3answers
5k views

make my zsh prompt show mode in vi mode

I use bindkey -v (for bash-ers set -o vi I think that works in zsh too) or vi(m) mode. but it bugs me that I don't have any visual cue to tell me whether I'm in insert mode or command mode. Does ...
31
votes
6answers
33k views

How do you move all files (including hidden) in a directory to another?

How do I move all files in a directory (including the hidden ones) to another directory? For example, if I have a folder "Foo" with the files ".hidden" and "notHidden" inside, how do I move both ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference between running a program as a daemon and forking it into background with '&'?

What are the practical differences from a sysadmin point of view when deploying services on a unix based system?
39
votes
12answers
6k views

best way to search my shell's history

Is there a better way to search my history file for a command than grep? I do have some idea what the command starts as, but I don't know how far back in the history it is. update: was formerly zsh ...
32
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between a builtin command and one that is not?

Is there any intrinsic difference between a builtin command and another command which can nominally do the same thing? eg. Do builtins get "special" treatement? ... is there less overhead running ...
17
votes
8answers
6k views

Object-oriented shell for *nix

Preface: I love bash and have no intention of starting any sort of argument or holy-war, and hopefully this is not an extremely naive question. This question is somewhat related to this post on ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

Why can't I redirect a path name output from one command to “cd”?

I am trying to get cd to accept a directory name redirected to it from another command. Neither of these methods work: $ echo $HOME | cd $ echo $HOME | xargs cd This does work: $ cd $(echo $HOME) ...
25
votes
1answer
1k views

Does 'rm .*' ever delete the parent directory?

The expression .* is expanded by bash to include the current and parent directories: $ ls -la total 2600 drwxrwxrwx 2 terdon terdon 2162688 Sep 10 16:22 . drwxr-xr-x 142 terdon terdon 491520 Sep ...
8
votes
2answers
590 views

What's the best distro/shell-agnostic way to set environment variables?

The question says it all. I currently use Arch Linux and the zsh, but I'd like a solution that (at minimum) works both on VTs and in xterms and also (hopefully, preferably) will continue to work if I ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What does `:-` mean in a shell script

I saw this in the end of an awesome shell script but I can't understand the login here because I think it's being short-handed for a longer command. spark ${@:-`cat`} This apears at the end of this ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Aliases vs functions vs scripts

This site says, "Shell functions are faster [than aliases]. Aliases are looked up after functions and thus resolving is slower. While aliases are easier to understand, shell functions are preferred ...
11
votes
8answers
384 views

How to access the history on the fly in unix?

for example, if I do a mkdir thisismyfolder912 I remember there is some easier way to switch to thisismyfolder912 than having to do a cd thisismyfolder912 What is that way and how does it work? ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is the terminal case-sensitive?

When I do - CD .. instead of cd .. it gives me error saying - CD: command not found Why is the terminal case sensitive when it comes to linux commands? I mean you should be able to execute the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I make `cut` change a file in place?

The man page doesn't give me much hope, but I'm hoping it's an undocumented (and/or GNU-specific) feature.
6
votes
6answers
497 views

How can I reproduce commands run on one machine on another machine?

I would like to install some software on a linux-machine that I have run in VirtualBox. Then I would like to do the same thing on a linux-VPS. I think that I can save all commands that I run using ...
20
votes
2answers
21k views

How to get the pid of the last executed command in shell script?

I want to have a shell script like this: my-app & echo $my-app-pid But I do not know how the get the pid of the just executed command. I know I can just use the jobs -p my-app command to grep ...
19
votes
11answers
3k views

Remove duplicate $PATH entries with awk command

I am trying to write a bash shell function that will allow me to remove duplicate copies of directories from my path environment. I was told that it is possible to achieve this with a one line ...
13
votes
2answers
749 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, ...
9
votes
7answers
950 views

determine shell in script during runtime

As per my knowledge, to determine the current shell we use echo $0 in the shell. Rather I want my script to check in which shell it is running. So, I tried to print $0 in the script and it returns the ...
7
votes
5answers
486 views

IO redirection and the head command

I was trying to quickly edit an .hgignore file from the Cygwin bash shell today, and I added a line that was a mistake. I'm not sure if this was the best way to do it, but I quickly thought of using ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

How to check if pipe is empty

I have piped line in bash script and want to check if pipe has data, before feeding program Searching I found about test -t 0 but it doesn't work here. Always returns false. So how to be sure that ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Best way to remove file extension from a string?

So, I'm using a script I've made to convert videos to the webm format. A certain program calls the script, sending %f which is the full, absolute file name of the video, like this: converter.sh %f ...
2
votes
1answer
638 views

Cut + Copy + Paste in Linux Puppy Wary

Trying to cut + copy + paste from the standard urxvt shell in Puppy Linux Wary 5.3. If I follow this post on http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=15085 and I press: in urxvt: ctrl + ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

sh startup files over ssh

I have some important commands I need to execute before any sh shell starts. This is required for passing SSH commands in the SSH command (ssh host somecommand) and other programs that run commands. ...
4
votes
2answers
735 views

Can I read and write to the same file in Linux without overwriting it? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can I make iconv replace the input file with the converted output? I frequently connect to amazon ec2 using their public DNS names ...
69
votes
4answers
1k views

Can I somehow add a “&& prog2” to an already running prog1?

Most shells provide functions like && and ; to chain the execution of commands in certain ways. But what if a command is already running, can I still somehow add another command to be executed ...
24
votes
1answer
451 views

A shell tool to “tablify” input data

A long time ago I remember using a command that makes its input into a nicely formatted table. For example, for this input, apple 1 100 orange 20 19 pineapple 1000 87 avocado 4 30 The output will ...
21
votes
4answers
7k views

Quoting in ssh $host $FOO and ssh $host “sudo su user -c $FOO” type constructs

I often end up issuing complex commands over ssh; these commands involve piping to awk or perl one-lines, and as a result contain single quotes and $'s. I have neither been able to figure out a hard ...
16
votes
3answers
550 views

What are the responsibilities of each Pseudo-Terminal (PTY) component (software, master side, slave side)?

I am trying to figure out how a tty works1 (the work-flow and responsibilities of each elements). I have read several interesting articles about it, but there are still some blurry areas. This is ...
30
votes
4answers
14k views

How can I send stdout to multiple commands?

There are some commands which filter or act on input, and then pass it along as output, I think usually to stdout - but some commands will just take the stdin and do whatever they do with it, and ...
27
votes
2answers
7k views

What does “3>&1 1>&2 2>&3” do in a script?

I saw this line in a script: DEVICE=`dialog --inputbox "Festplatten-Laufzeit auslesen. Gebe Sie das gewünschte Device an: " 0 70 "" 3>&1 1>&2 2>&3` What is 3>&1 ...
27
votes
5answers
31k views

How to monitor CPU/memory usage of a single process?

I would like to monitor one process's memory / cpu usage in real time. Similar to top but targeted at only one process, preferably with a history graph of some sort.
18
votes
6answers
6k views

How to check if bash can print colors

I want to know if there's any way to check if my program can output terminal output using colors or not. Running commands like less and looking at the output from a program that outputs using ...
14
votes
5answers
20k views

Script to monitor folder for new files?

How do I detect new files in a folder with a bash script? I would like to process the files as soon as they are created in the folder. Is this possible to do so or do I have to schedule a script with ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How to delete part of a path in an interactive shell?

Is there a shortcut in bash and zsh to delete one component of a path? For example, if I type ls ~/local/color/, and the cursor is at the end of line, is there a shortcut to delete the color/ at the ...
33
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is '.' a hard link in Unix?

I've seen many explanations for why the link count for an empty directory in Unix based OSes is 2 instead of 1. They all say that it's because of the '.' directory, which every directory has pointing ...
16
votes
3answers
5k views

bulk rename (or correctly display) files with special characters

I have a bunch of directories and subdirectories that contain files with special characters, like this file: robbie@phil:~$ ls test�sktest.txt test?sktest.txt Find reveals an escape sequence: ...
14
votes
3answers
18k views

What does ` (backquote/backtick) mean in bash?

I came across the following command sudo chown `id -u` /somedir And I wonder what is the meaning of the ` symbol. I noticed for instance that while the command above works well the one below does ...
16
votes
4answers
768 views

Path independent shebangs

I have a script that I want to be able to run in two machines. These two machines get copies of the script from the same git repository. The script needs to run with the right interpreter (e.g. zsh). ...
18
votes
2answers
4k views

how can I use bash as my login shell when my sysadmin refuses to let me change it

The unix sysadmin where I'm working is reluctant to give me access to change my login shell from ksh to bash. He has given various excuses, the funniest being that since they write all their scripts ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

How to apply recursively chmod directories without affecting files?

After I apply chmod -R to a directory, permissions are changed for everything within (files and directories). How can I add execute/search (x) permissions to directories without modifying the files?
14
votes
4answers
797 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
6k views

bash multi line command with comments after the continuation character

Consider echo \ # this is a comment foo This gives: $ sh foo.sh # this is a comment foo.sh: line 2: foo: command not found After some searching on the web, I found a solution by DigitalRoss on ...