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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

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 ...
6
votes
5answers
613 views

Shell programming, avoiding tempfiles

I often write KSH shell scripts that follow the same pattern: (1) retrieve output from one or more command (2) format it using grep|cut|awk|sed and print it to the screen or to a file In order to ...
4
votes
1answer
884 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. ...
18
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I print lines from file backwards (without using “tac”)?

I have a simple question (I think). I want to print lines from a file backwards without using tac command. Is there any other solution to do such thing with bash?
6
votes
2answers
3k views

what is meant by connecting STDOUT and STDIN?

This is a newbie question. I'm reading a book, it says: Every process has at least three communication channels available to it: “standard input” (STDIN), “standard output” (STDOUT), and ...
4
votes
4answers
203 views

Grep of many keywords over many files: speeding it up

I am currently facing a "performance problem" while using grep. I am trying to locate the occurrences of many (10,000+) keywords in many (think Linux kernel repository size) files. The objective is to ...
58
votes
6answers
54k views

How to split the terminal into more than one “view”?

From vi, if you issue the command :sp, the screen splits into two "views", allowing you to edit more than one file from the same terminal. Along those same lines, is there a way to have multiple ...
67
votes
6answers
2k views

Run a command that is shadowed by an alias

Let's say i have the following alias in bash - alias ls='ls --color=auto' - and i want to call ordinary ls without options. Is the only way to do that is to unalias, do the command and then alias ...
29
votes
12answers
1k views

How to quickly store and access often used commands?

I have a lot of commands I routinely need to execute, often with the slightest variation. Right now I'm storing them all in .bash_history and use CTRL-R to access them, but I wonder if there's a ...
26
votes
1answer
733 views

Avoiding “BASH-isms” in shell scripts

Does there exist a tool similar to Perl::Critic that will inspect your shell scripts and point out flaws, portability issues, uses of non-standard programs without fallbacks, depreciated program uses, ...
21
votes
4answers
40k views

How do I grep for multiple patterns?

I want to find all lines in several files that match one of two patterns. I tried to find the patterns I'm looking for by typing grep (foo|bar) *.txt but the shell interprets the | as a pipe and ...
15
votes
2answers
16k views

How to suspend and bring a background process to foreground

I have a process originally running in the foreground. I suspended by Ctrl+Z, and then resume its running in the background by bg <jobid>. I wonder how to suspend a process running in the ...
26
votes
7answers
19k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
261 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
26k 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.
19
votes
5answers
4k views

How to make bidirectional pipe between two programs?

Everyone knows how to make unidirectional pipe between two programs (bind stdout of first one and stdin of second one): first | second. But how to make bidirectional pipe, i.e. cross-bind stdin and ...
15
votes
2answers
860 views

Is there an easy way to programmatically extract IP address?

Is there an easy way to programmatically extract IP address, without tedious parsing of ifconfig? I would not mind simple command output processing using sed to do it but not processing multiline ...
13
votes
6answers
11k 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, ...
19
votes
5answers
3k 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?
12
votes
5answers
24k views

Is there a way to see details of all the threads that a process has in Linux?

For Windows, I think Process Explorer shows you all the threads under a process. Is there a similar command line utility for Linux that can show me details about all the threads a particular process ...
15
votes
6answers
357 views

How could I remember how to use redirection?

I know what program > /dev/null 2>&1 does. It redirects the output to /dev/null and 2>&1 means to redirect the error output in the same place where the output is sent. My ...
16
votes
9answers
8k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
503 views

Can I restrict a user to use special programs?

Is it possible to add a user and restrict him to run special programs? For example after this user logs in, he can only open Firefox to use Internet and no other programs can be run by this user. For ...
10
votes
5answers
276 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
958 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 ...
9
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 ...
7
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
17k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
186 views

Difference between executing multiple commands with && and ;

What's the difference between executing multiple commands with && and ;? Examples: echo "Hi\!" && echo "How are you?" and echo "Hi\!"; echo "How are you?"
7
votes
2answers
4k views

How to make exported shell variables permanent?

export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libtsocks.so It's ok that I can export in this way, but how can I make it permanent? I want LD_PRELOAD to still be changed after a reboot. I'm using Ubuntu and Fedora
6
votes
2answers
2k views

List elements with spaces in zsh

I've been studying zsh scripting for all of 2 hours at this point and I've hit a wall. I want to go through a list of files that may have spaces in them. I'm open to completely different approaches ...
4
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Portable way to find inode number

At first I used stat -c %i file (to help detect the presence of a jail), which seemed to work on any Linux distribution under the sun. On OS X' I had to use ls -i file | cut -d ' ' -f 1. Is there ...
10
votes
6answers
501 views

How can I cleanly add to $PATH?

I'd like a way to add things to $PATH, system-wide or for an individual user, without potentially adding the same path multiple times. One reason to want to do this is so that additions can be made ...
7
votes
3answers
416 views

why for loop doesn't raise “argument too long” error?

I found that this would raise the "argument too long" error: ls *.* And this would not raise it: for file in *.* do echo $file done Why?
6
votes
1answer
4k views

How to hide commands typed in a Linux shell?

Is there a way to hide what I'm typing in a shell, so the terminal doesn't echo my keystrokes, while still keeping the output of the command? For example, if I run ip addr show, the only thing on the ...
6
votes
1answer
307 views

Can I have my shell history record how wildcards expanded?

If I run: $ ls * foo bar buzz $ history | tail -1 ls * You can see that in my shell history it remembers that I ran ls * rather than ls foo bar buzz. Ideally, I'd like to record both in separate ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How to get a clean environment in a ksh shell?

I need to get rid of all the environment variables in a Ksh shell. I can fork a new instance, but it will inevitably source some init files (as far as I know .profile, .kshrc). Is there a way to ...
5
votes
3answers
308 views

“mkdir foo; svn mv * foo”

I often want to do some variant of this idiom: $ mkdir 2010 $ svn mv * 2010 Of course, I get an error because the glob matches 2010 as well: svn: Cannot copy path '2010' into its own child ...
3
votes
1answer
585 views

creating abbreviations for commonly used paths

I am new to linux and was wondering whether it is possible to create abbreviations that can be used in terminal. I know about alias command, but am not sure whether that can be used for what I am ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Change directory with -d in shell script

I am trying to give the option to the users to run the script in a different directory. However when the script changes the directory, the mkdir does not work. I change the directory like this: case ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

In a regular expression, which characters need escaping?

In general, which characters in a regular expression need escaping? For example, the following is not syntactically correct: echo '[]' | grep '[]' grep: Unmatched [ or [^ This, however, is ...
3
votes
1answer
358 views

Difference between ' and " on command line (bash)?

I used to use '' and "" interchangeably on the command line, but I recently noticed that '$HOME/some/dir' is not expanded, while "$HOME/some/dir" is. I searched around a little bit and found that "" ...
2
votes
6answers
124 views

When does a shell get executed during the linux startup process

I do not understand when does a shell, lets say bash, get executed, which program runs bash initially first.
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Manipulate file name piped from find command

I'm relatively new to Bash and am trying to do something that on the surface seemed pretty straightforward - run find over a directory hierarchy to get all of the *.wma files, pipe that output to a ...
19
votes
6answers
565 views

Why is aliasing over standard commands not recommended?

For example, a common alias I've seen in the ~/.bashrc file (or equivalents) is alias rm='rm -i' However, I've seen people recommend against this because the alias might not exist on another ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How to remove only the content of directories?

I'm in a folder: /var/myfolder. Inside there are some other folders like: /var/myfolder/A/ /var/myfolder/B/ `/var/myfolder/C/ etc. Inside each there are some files with random names. How do I ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

How to “send” variable to sub-shell?

I run the following script: VAR="Test" sh -c 'echo "Hello $VAR"' But I get : # ./test.sh Hello How can I "send" the variable VAR of my script to the shell created with sh -c?
7
votes
4answers
532 views

How can I find a file whose name includes a given string, such as “abcde”?

Within a set of directories, how do I find a file whose name includes a given string, such as "abcde"?