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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64
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8answers
66k 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 ...
50
votes
4answers
131k 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 ...
46
votes
13answers
18k 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 ...
39
votes
11answers
20k 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()" ...
37
votes
3answers
3k views

What does it mean to be “sh compatible”?

I've seen the phrase "sh compatible" used usually in reference to shells. I'm not sure if it also applies to the programs that might be run from within shells. What does it mean for a shell or other ...
20
votes
2answers
6k views

recursive statistics on file types in directory?

I did a website scrape for a conversion project. I'd like to do some statistics on the types of files in there -- for instance, 400 .html files, 100 .gif, etc. What's an easy way to do this? It has to ...
28
votes
12answers
11k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
31k views

Disable user shell for security reasons

We have several user accounts that we create for automated tasks that require fine-grained permissions, such as file transfer across systems, monitoring, etc. How do we lock down these user accounts ...
26
votes
5answers
24k views

Parenthesis in bash arithmetic: 3 * (2 + 1)

expr does not seem to like parenthesis (used in mathematics to explicit operator priority): expr 3 * (2 + 1) bash: syntax error near unexpected token `(' How to express operator priority in bash?
21
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
7k 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
8answers
12k views

Tool in UNIX to subtract dates

Is there any tool in Solaris UNIX (so no GNU tool available) to subtract dates? I know that in Linux we have gawk that can subtract one date from another. But in Solaris the maximum we have is nawk ...
7
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
19
votes
1answer
936 views

Why doesn't 'find' show this file?

Using find with grep, one can locate files that match a pattern: # find | grep error ./solr-modifiedSolr4/SolrPhpClient/phpdocs/errors.html ./error_log ./includes/classes/error_log However, using ...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

Difference between executing multiple commands with && and ; [duplicate]

What's the difference between executing multiple commands with && and ;? Examples: echo "Hi\!" && echo "How are you?" and echo "Hi\!"; echo "How are you?"
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Writing a character N times using the printf command

I found the following command to repeat a character in Linux: printf 'H%.0s' {1..5000} > H.txt I want, for example, H to repeat 5000 times. What does %.0s mean here?
6
votes
3answers
326 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
15k views

executing a sh script from the cron

I have a test.sh script #!/bin/sh php /home/v/file.php sh /root/x/some.sh when I execute the file as root from command line it works. sh /home/v/test.sh when I set it to crontab -e (is the root ...
23
votes
3answers
6k views

ls command: what does the first line mean?

When I do ls -l I get this: calico@A000505:~/Documentos$ ls -l total 2020 -rwxr-xr-x 1 calico calico 8559 2010-11-16 11:12 a.out -rwxrw-rw- 1 smt smt 2050138 2010-10-14 10:40 Java2.pdf ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

When sh is a symlink to bash or dash, bash limits itself to POSIX-compliance, so it should be 100% compatible with sh?

From Difference between bash and sh: ABck to the question: If you have /bin/sh as a link to bash, then bash will not behave the same when called as /bin/sh as it does when called as /bin/bash. ...
3
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
9k views

What does the tilde (~) mean at the end of a filename? [duplicate]

What is the file with the ~ at the end of the filename for? $ ls # aliased to add flags -rwxrwxr-x 1 durrantm 2741 May 16 09:28 strip_out_rspec_prep_cmds.sh~* drwxrwxr-x 13 durrantm 4096 May 16 ...
6
votes
4answers
985 views

Shell, Concatenating 2 strings to reference a 3rd variable

I am trying to do the following in my script: #/bin/bash -x var1=www var2=www2 var3=www3 var4=www4 for i in 1 2 3 4; do echo \$var$i done Obviously, this doesn't work as expected and results in ...
4
votes
2answers
318 views

how to sort by the day of the week?

I have two files. file1: Dave 734.838.9800 Bob 313.123.4567 Carol 248.344.5576 Mary 313.449.1390 Ted 248.496.2204 Alice 616.556.4458 file2: Bob Tuesday Carol Monday Ted Sunday ...
4
votes
2answers
333 views

Do redirection operators always open file descriptors in parallel?

1. Consider snippet#1: $ cat test.txt > test.txt cat: test.txt: input file is output file It seems that cat makes its input file descriptor point to test.txt and then when it tries to set its ...
214
votes
4answers
18k views

How does a Segmentation Fault work under-the-hood?

I can't seem to find any information on this aside from "the CPU's MMU sends a signal" and "the kernel directs it to the offending program, terminating it". I assumed that it probably sends the ...
80
votes
4answers
75k views

How do I use pushd and popd commands?

What are the practical uses of both pushd and popd when there is an advantage of using these two commands over cd and cd -? EDIT: I'm looking for some practical examples of uses for both of these ...
54
votes
6answers
84k 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.
43
votes
5answers
61k 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 ...
43
votes
3answers
21k views

Precedence of the shell logical operators &&, ||

I am trying to understand how the logical operator precedence works in bash. For example, I would have expected, that the following command does not echo anything. true || echo aaa && echo ...
20
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
35
votes
3answers
67k views

How do I set an environment variable on the command line and have it appear in commands?

If I run export TEST=foo echo $TEST It outputs foo. If I run TEST=foo echo $TEST It does not. How can I get this functionality without using export or a script?
35
votes
5answers
6k views

difference between “function foo() {}” and “foo() {}”

I can define bash functions using or omitting the function keyword. Is there any difference? #!/bin/bash function foo() { echo "foo" } bar() { echo "bar" } foo bar Both calls to functions ...
23
votes
4answers
15k 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
23k views

Grabbing the extension in a file name

How do I get the file extension from bash? Here's what I tried: filename=`basename $filepath` fileext=${filename##*.} By doing that I can get extension of bz2 from the path /dir/subdir/file.bz2, ...
13
votes
5answers
27k views

Is there a way to set the size of the history list in bash to more than 5000 lines?

No matter how much I set the HISTSIZE environment variable to be larger than 5000, when printing the history list with the history builtin, it prints only the last 5000 commands. I need that because I ...
9
votes
3answers
18k 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:
25
votes
12answers
9k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

Do we have more history for cd?

cd - can move to the last visited directory. Can we visit more history other than the last one?
7
votes
3answers
30k views

How to merge two files based on the matching of two columns?

I have file1 likes: 0 AFFX-SNP-000541 NA 0 AFFX-SNP-002255 NA 1 rs12103 0.6401 1 rs12103_1247494 0.696 1 rs12142199 0.7672 And a file2: 0 AFFX-SNP-000541 1 0 ...
25
votes
6answers
3k 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) ...
23
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
39k views

Which shell should I use - tcsh vs bash? [closed]

I have been using tcsh for a long time now. But whenever I am searching for something, I often find that the methods specified are bash specific. Even the syntax for the shell scripts is different for ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “rm is hashed” mean?

I'm going through http://mywiki.wooledge.org/BashGuide/CommandsAndArguments and came across this: $ type rm rm is hashed (/bin/rm) $ type cd cd is a shell builtin Just a little earlier, the guide ...
18
votes
4answers
1k 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). ...
15
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
24
votes
5answers
24k views

Solving “mv: Argument list too long”?

I have a folder with more than a million files that needs sorting, but I cant really do anything because mv outputs this message all the time -bash: /bin/mv: Argument list too long I'm using this ...
7
votes
2answers
759 views

Expansion of a shell variable and effect of glob and split on it

This post actually contains two separate questions but I think grouping them together will give some more context. I have gone through this question on quotes around variables but I do not quite ...
18
votes
8answers
5k views

How to pipe output from one process to another but only execute if the first has output?

How can I rewrite this command to only email if there is output from the mailq | grep? mailq | egrep 'rejected|refused' -A 5 -B 5 | mail -s 'dd' email@email Is this even possible on one line?
11
votes
3answers
11k views

What's the meaning of a dot before a command in shell?

While following android eclipse debug tutorial, I encounter following commands. cd /path/to/android/root . build/envsetup.sh lunch 1 make emulator My problem is what the dot before ...