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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11
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7answers
2k 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 ...
33
votes
7answers
6k views

How to determine where an environment variable came from

I have a linux instance that I set up some time ago. When I fire it up and log in as root there are some environment variables that I set up but I can't remember or find where they came from. I've ...
28
votes
5answers
50k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

In `while IFS= read..`, why does IFS have no effect?

I might have something absolutely wrong, but it looks convincing to me, that setting IFS as one of the commands in the pre-do/done list has absolutely no effect. The outer IFS (outside the while ...
30
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
58
votes
2answers
55k 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
7k views

Make `rm` move to trash

Is there a Linux script / application which, instead of deleting files, moves them to a special “trash” location? I’d like this as a replacement for rm (maybe even aliasing the latter; there are pros ...
8
votes
2answers
943 views

How can I use $var in a shell brace expansion of a sequence?

I want to use $var in a shell brace expansion with a range, in bash. Simply putting {$var1..$var2} doesn't work, so I went "lateral"... The following works, but it's a bit kludgey. # remove the ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a way in bash to redirect output and still have it go to stdout?

Okay. If I wanted to redirect the output of a program to a file, I'd do something like this prog > file If I wanted to redirect both stdout and stderr to that file, then I'd do prog > file ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

changing current working dir with a script

I've read this question and answer, but it doesn't quit fit my problem, even tho it's similar. I'm writing a script (called cpj) that will launch one of my current projects. I have about 5 of them. ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
107
votes
15answers
152k 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 line, because color makes the output more useful and intuitive. What options exist ...
54
votes
5answers
36k 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 ...
36
votes
5answers
5k views

What are the fundamental differences between the mainstream *NIX shells? [closed]

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 ...
17
votes
5answers
16k views

Show only stderr on screen but write both stdout and stderr to file

How can I use BASH magic to achieve this? I want to only see stderr output on the screen, but I want both stdout and stderr to be written to a file. Clarification: I want both stdout and stderr to ...
18
votes
6answers
68k views

How can I read line by line from a variable in bash?

I have a variable which contains multiline output of a command. What's the most effecient way to read the output line by line from the variable? For example: jobs="$(jobs)" if [ "$jobs" ]; then ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the difference between “du -sh *” and “du -sh ./*”?

The title says it all. What's the difference between those 2 commands? NOTE: I'm more interested in the * and ./* part.
19
votes
5answers
5k views

Why is echo a shell built in command?

$ which echo echo: shell built-in command. $ which ls /bin/ls $ which cat /bin/cat Why is echo not an independent utility like ls, ps, cat etc? Why is it shell specific? Any good reasons?
23
votes
8answers
50k views

List only regular files (but not directories) in current directory

I can use ls -ld */ to list all the directory entries in the current directory. Is there a similarly easy way to just list all the regular files in the current directory? I know I can use find find . ...
21
votes
7answers
4k views

how to glob every hidden file except current and parent directory [duplicate]

I want to glob every hidden file and directory, but not the current (.) and parent directory (..). I am using bash. Observe current behaviour: $ ls -a . .. ...a ...aa ..a ..aa .a .aa .aaa ...
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
15k views

How to escape quotes in shell?

I'm having trouble with escaping characters in bash. I'd like to escape single and double quotes while running a command under a different user. For the purposes of this question let's say I want to ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do I need to quote variable for if, but not for echo?

I've read that you need double quotes for expanding variables, e.g. if [ -n "$test" ]; then echo '$test ok'; else echo '$test null'; fi will work as expected, while if [ -n $test ]; then echo ...
9
votes
6answers
11k 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?
16
votes
2answers
1k 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, ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Piping for loop output prevents local variable modification

I'm trying to write a simple bash function that takes, as its arguments, a number of files and/or directories. It should: Fully qualify the filenames. Sort them. Remove duplicates. Print all that ...
7
votes
7answers
10k views

What's the best way to count the number of files in a directory?

If parsing the output of ls is dangerous because it can break on some funky characters (spaces, \n, ... ), what's the best way to know the number of files in a directory? I usualy rely on find to ...
23
votes
2answers
8k views

In bash, is it possible to use an integer variable in the loop control of a for loop?

I have the following bash script: #!/bin/bash upperlim=10 for i in {0..10} do echo $i done for i in {0..$upperlim} do echo $i done The first for loop (without the variable upperlim in the loop ...
12
votes
4answers
21k views

Pass shell variable as a /pattern/ to awk

Having the following in one of my shell functions: function _process () { awk -v l="$line" ' BEGIN {p=0} /'"$1"'/ {p=1} END{ if(p) print l >> "outfile.txt" } ' } , so when called as ...
8
votes
5answers
888 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Wrapping a command that includes single and double quotes for another command

I recently learned about watch, but am having trouble making it work with relatively sophisticated commands. For example, I would like to ask watch to run the following command on zsh every three ...
11
votes
2answers
874 views

Strange difference between pwd and /bin/pwd

I added a symlink to the current directory with ln -s . aa. If I execute cd aa, and after that I executed pwd, the response is /home/sim/aa. But if I execute /bin/pwd it prints /home/sim (the current ...
7
votes
5answers
7k 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

bash: syntax error near unexpected token `}'

I tried using this: $ if [$a == 1] then { echo 'yes'; } fi; but I get an error: -bash: syntax error near unexpected token `}' What is the correct format? I tried several with no luck.
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Use of quotes in GNU grep regular expressions

I could see that certain patterns in the GNU Grep can be enclosed within brackets and certain others need not be. For example, matching the beginning of a word works only if it is enclosed within ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

Script failing with “command not found: ^M”

When I try to run the following script in zsh, via the command /bin/zsh ~/.set_color_scheme.sh I get the following error: command not found: ^M The script has u+x permissions and it used to work on ...
58
votes
7answers
53k views

What's the difference between /sbin/nologin and /bin/false

Technically, unless pam is set up to check your shell with pam_shells neither of these can actually prevent your login, if you're not on the shell. On my system they are even different sizes, so I ...
42
votes
13answers
13k 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 ...
36
votes
4answers
95k views

How to add repository from shell in Debian?

In Ubuntu one can add a repository to apt-get via the following command - sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair As Ubuntu is based on Debian code base, I was expecting that the same ...
36
votes
11answers
17k 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()" ...
26
votes
4answers
4k 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?
11
votes
5answers
5k views

Using notify-send with cron

I am using Arch Linux with KDE/Awesome WM. I am trying to get notify-send to work with cron. I have tried setting DISPLAY/XAUTHORITY variables, and running notify-send with "sudo -u", all without ...
21
votes
1answer
6k views

Difference between environment variables and exported environment variables in bash

Bash seems to differentiate between variables which have been exported and those which have not. example: $ FOO=BAR $ env | grep FOO $ set | grep FOO FOO=BAR set sees the variable but env does ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

How to achieve portability with sed -i (in-place editing)?

I'm writing shell scripts for my server, which is a shared hosting running FreeBSD. I also want to be able to test them locally, on my PC running Linux. Hence, I'm trying to write them in a portable ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

How to defer variable expansion

I was wanting to initialize some strings at the top of my script with variables that have no yet been set, such as: str1='I went to ${PLACE} and saw ${EVENT}' str2='If you do ${ACTION} you will ...
6
votes
3answers
321 views

Correct textual name for <<

I've just come across the << command, used like so: cat > outfile.txt <<EOF Multi-line content that will be written to outfile.txt EOF Now, I've no idea what this is called, but I'd ...