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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12
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5answers
496 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
647 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I create an alias for a git [action] command (which includes spaces)?

Most of my my aliases are of this form: alias p='pwd' I want to alias git commit so that it does git commit -v But trying to create an alias with a space gives an error: $ alias 'git commit'='git ...
11
votes
6answers
3k 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?
8
votes
2answers
290 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?"
8
votes
2answers
5k 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
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Use HERE file and redirect output of command

I have the following code in a batch script: mpirun -np 6 ./laplace <<END 100 100 100 0.01 100 3 2 1 END | tail -n 1 > output But it isn't working. What I want it to do is to use the HERE ...
7
votes
3answers
491 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?
5
votes
3answers
812 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
6k 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
3answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
12k views

Usage of dash (-) in place of a filename

For a command, if using - as an argument in place of a file name will mean STDIN or STDOUT. But in this example, it creates a file with the name -: echo hello > - How can I make - in this ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

Are there naming conventions for variables in shell scripts?

Most languages have naming conventions for variables, the most common style I see in shell scripts is MY_VARIABLE=foo. Is this the convention or is it only for global variables? What about variables ...
9
votes
2answers
274 views

Closing a file descriptor, >&- vs <&-

In the bash tutorial I am reading, it says that if you open a file descriptor for reading, i.e. exec 3< echolist Then you must close it like this, exec 3<&- However, if you open a file ...
8
votes
1answer
166 views

How to “correctly” start an application from a shell

I find it hard to phrase the question precisely but I will give my best. I use dwm as my default window manager and dmenu as my application launcher. I hardly use GUI applications aside from my ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

`highlight` command

Is there a command which can be used to easily highlight (with colors, bold text or inverted back-/foreground) specific strings in stdin while passing the entire string to stdout? I'm thinking of ...
6
votes
1answer
5k 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
4k views

Changing the default shell without chsh or administrator priviledges

I saw the following snippet in this thread: How to change from csh to bash as default shell sleep 2 if (-x /usr/local/bin/bash) then exec /bin/sh -c '. ~/.profile; exec /usr/local/bin/bash' endif ...
6
votes
1answer
320 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
1answer
728 views

How to trigger error using Trap command

I am using Ubuntu 12.04.2. I am trying to use "trap" command to capture abnormal or error in my shell script but I am also trying to manually trigger "Error" exit. I have tried exit 1, but it won't ...
5
votes
2answers
4k 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
327 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
852 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
384 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 "" ...
1
vote
2answers
150 views

Changing user to root when connected to a linux server and copying files

My script is coded in a way that doesn't allow you to connect to a server directly by root. This code basically copies files a server to my computer and it works but I don't have access to many files ...
19
votes
6answers
609 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 ...
10
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?
8
votes
3answers
2k 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
5k views

Why I can't escape spaces on a bash script?

I'm trying to escape the space char for a path in Bash, but neither using a backslash or quotes works. .sh script: ROOT="/home/hogar/Documents/files/" FILE=${ROOT}"bdd.encrypted" ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Why does shell Command Substitution gobble up a trailing newline char?

As per the following example, and as in my recent question In bash, where has the trailing newline char gone?, I want to know "why" it happens x="$(echo -ne "a\nb\n")" ; echo -n "$x" | xxd -p # ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

Is it bad practice to set root's shell to something other than the default?

Once a friend of mine (who is an experienced Unix/Linux user) told me that setting root's shell to something other than sh (i.e bash or zsh) might create problems, because some script might assume ...
5
votes
3answers
749 views

How do you process an entire command as sudo that involves redirecting or piping?

I am trying to follow what I assume is best practises of using sudo instead of root account. I am running a simple concat file operation such as: sudo echo 'clock_hctosys="YES"' >> ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Trouble in script with spaces in filename

I've got a script that scp's a file from remote host back to local. Sometimes the file names contain spaces. scp does not like spaces in its file names. For some reason my attempts at handling the ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

Find files which are created a certain time after or before a particular file was created

I need a shell script which finds files which are created 1 hour before or 1 hour after a particular file (test.txt) was created. If I go with find -newer, that means I'd have to create a temporary ...
5
votes
5answers
959 views

Multiple ssh sessions in single command

I'm trying to copy a database from one server to another. I tried using the following command and it's getting tied up on entering the ssh passwords. If I put in one server's password, it complains ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is my find not recursive?

I am running the following command, but it is not performed recursively: find . -name *.java I know there are java files further down in the current directory but it is performing the find on the ...
4
votes
4answers
353 views

How can I grep for a string containing regex metacharacters like $ and '?

I want to search all files in the current directory and below for the substring $form['#node']. So, I have tried, initially: grep -R "\$form\[\\\\'" . and grep -R "\$form\[\'" . But it returns no ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

gnome-terminal: keep track of directory in new tab

I'm on Arch linux, and when I open a new terminal tab, it always goes to $HOME. How can I make it so that when I open a new tab, it opens the shell in the directory I was in previously?
4
votes
4answers
131 views

How to deal with spaces in a variable

I'm working on some scripting: for x in `find ./ -name *.pdf` do echo pathname $x done My filenames are Test1 ( Volume II), Test2 ( Volume II). I'm getting a return of pathname Test1 pathname ( ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

What is 'ls quote'?

Today I happened to press ' after ls So the command is ls' After I issued this command: [edit]Seems the image can't display properly > ls' quote> ls' zsh: command not found: ls\nls > ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

How can the order of execution in the shell as it relates to redirection be upset about 1 time out of a 1000 on my system? [duplicate]

Considering this Q&A about the order of execution in the shell as it relates to redirection, and despite the fact that if a file doesn't exist it gets created first so that cat example.txt | shuf ...
3
votes
2answers
513 views

How to copy multiple files but keep their extensions the same?

I am looping through a number of files, and $file represents the current file. How can I make copies or renames and keep the extension the same for this current file? e.g. if $file = x.jpg How to ...
3
votes
3answers
494 views

Concatenating thousands of files: > vs >>

I found two seemingly contradictory answers on StackOverflow to the following questions: Concatenating Thousands of Text Files Across Hundreds of Directories (while keeping some structure) How do I ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Bash while loop and reading from pipe

I have a Windows command-line program that I'm running in a Bash script in Ubuntu via wine. The Bash script basically looks like this: wine myprogram.exe | while read line do # Process line done ...
3
votes
4answers
370 views

Piping paths with different types of quotes for slash substitution

I would like to use sed to convert a path with backslashes to the same path with forward slashes: E.g. I would like to pipe \\path\to\file\ and obtain /path/to/file None of the following commands ...