The shell is unix's command-line interface. You can type commands in a shell interactively, or write scripts to automate tasks.

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32
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4answers
2k 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 ...
24
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
23
votes
1answer
891 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
344 views

Order of redirections

I don't quite understand how the computer reads this command. cat file1 file2 1> file.txt 2>&1 If I understand, 2>&1 simply redirect Standard Error to Standard Output. By that ...
7
votes
2answers
412 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
1k 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
379 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? ...
9
votes
3answers
1k 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.
7
votes
5answers
426 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
5answers
419 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
945 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
453 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 + ...
6
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
592 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 ...
63
votes
8answers
55k 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 ...
55
votes
21answers
7k 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 ...
60
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
422 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
6k 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 ...
27
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
15k 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 ...
10
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 ...
32
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 ...
24
votes
6answers
1k 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) ...
18
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
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: ...
18
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
15
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?
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
15k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
6k views

How do I reverse a for loop?

How do I properly do a for loop in reverse order? for f in /var/logs/foo*.log; do bar "$f" done I need a solution that doesn't break for funky characters in the file names.
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What is IFS in context of for looping?

I'm learning bash scripting right now. I was reading this thread: How to loop over the lines of a file? What is IFS? With for and IFS:
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 ...
19
votes
11answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
565 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
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, ...
10
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the significance of single and double quotes in environment variables?

I defined some environment variables in my .profile like this: MY_HOME="/home/my_user" but the variable does not seem to evaluate unless I strip off the quotes and re-source the file. I believe ...
8
votes
2answers
557 views

What is meant by a shell is in “vi” mode or “emacs” mode?

This question follows directly from the answer to one of my previous questions here. I am newbie to unix world and this site has helped a lot to understand some core concepts. In this case I am ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How can I make variables “exported” in a bash script stick around?

I have multiple Amazon EC2 accounts and want to quickly be able to switch variables, such as $EC2_HOME, using a script. I have have a shell script set up like this: #!/bin/sh export ...
7
votes
2answers
383 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How to cut (select) a field from text line counting from the end?

I know how to select a field from a line using the cut command. For instance, given the following data: a,b,c,d,e f,g,h,i,j k,l,m,n,o This command: cut -d, -f2 # returns the second field of the ...
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
3answers
5k views

How do I change folder timestamps recursively to the newest file?

I was wondering if anyone knows how to change the timestamps of folders recursively based on the latest timestamp found of the files in that folder. So for example: ...
5
votes
3answers
272 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
345 views

What's the conf file reading between login and non-login shell?

I found that those are .bash_profile, .bashrc, .bash_login, .profile. What's the reading sequence between them?
9
votes
7answers
784 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
4answers
3k views

How to comment multi-line commands in shell scripts?

When invoking long, switch-heavy commands, it's a good practice to write them in shell scripts. Is there an easy way to comment lines in such scripts? I've tried the following methods, but neither ...