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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21
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 ...
34
votes
3answers
9k views

How can I test for POSIX compliance for shell scripts?

Probably the main thing that this website has taught me so far is the importance of writing portable shell scripts. Considering that POSIX is the closest thing to a common standard between all ...
24
votes
4answers
16k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
20k 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
13answers
10k 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
3answers
49k views

how to output text to both screen and file inside a shell script?

Currently I have a shell script which logs messages to a log file like this: log_file="/some/dir/log_file.log" echo "some text" >> $log_file do_some_command echo "more text" >> $log_file ...
19
votes
8answers
25k 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, ...
14
votes
5answers
29k 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 ...
23
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
14k 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
42k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
36k 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
3answers
5k 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). ...
26
votes
5answers
28k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
17k views

/dev/tcp listen instead of nc listen

With a netcat listener like: nc -l <port> < ~/.bashrc I can grab my .bashrc on a new machine (doesn't have nc or LDAP) with: cat < /dev/tcp/<ip>/<port> > ~/.bashrc My ...
19
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? See ...
11
votes
8answers
411 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? ...
10
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
4k 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.
13
votes
7answers
13k views

How to insert the content of a file into another file before a pattern (marker)?

File1 contents: line1-file1 "1" line2-file1 "2" line3-file1 "3" line4-file1 "4" File2 contents: line1-file2 "25" line2-file2 "24" Pointer-file2 "23" ...
11
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
7k 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
3answers
562 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Where does the TERM environment variable default get set?

When I open a terminal window with the GNOME Terminal emulator in the desktop GUI the shell TERM environment variable defaults to the value xterm. If I use CTL+ALT+F1 to switch to a console TTY ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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 + ...
9
votes
4answers
13k views

Number of files containing a given string

How can I count the number of files (in a directory) containing a given string as input in bash/sh?
6
votes
5answers
4k views

Deleting files with spaces in their names

I am trying to delete all the files with a space in their names. I am using following command. But it is giving me an error Command : ls | egrep '. ' | xargs rm Here if I am using only ls | egrep '. ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does sudo ignore aliases?

I am running Ubuntu 10.04 and I use upstart for daemon management. My enterprise application is run as a daemon and must be run as root because of various privileges. E.g.: sudo start ...
5
votes
2answers
10k 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
4answers
3k views

How can I search for a file with fixed name length using ls?

In a directory, I have files like lazer_100506 lazer_100707 lazer_091211 lazer_110103 lazer_100406_temp lazer_100622#delete etc How can I get a listing of only the first four files? $ ls ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

Bash script: check if a file is a text file [closed]

I am writing a menu based bash script, one of the menu options is to send an email with a text file attachment. I am having trouble with checking if my file is a text file. Here is what I have: ...
3
votes
3answers
301 views

What is $() in a command?

What is $() in Linux Shell Commands? For example: chmod 777 $(pwd)
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Busy box Read file line by line

There is no read applet comming with busy box. Is there any way to read a txt file line by line using busybox? What I have now is while read line do echo $line done < "$InputFile"
7
votes
4answers
659 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"?
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Pipe the output of a command if it is successful

INPUT_FILE=`ls -rt $MY_DIR/FILE.*.xml | head -1 | xargs basename` I wanted to execute the second command (head -1) only if the first command is successful. How do I improve this command?
2
votes
2answers
269 views

bash completion in Posix mode

I would like to use an interactive Posix bash shell but the autocomplete feature doesn't work. When I type the Tab character it simply prints a tab. The tab completion works only when I'm in a ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

List all commands that a shell knows

What can I type at my shell (which happens to be bash) that will list all the commands that are recognized? Also, does this differ by shell? Or do all shells just have a "directory" of commands they ...
-1
votes
1answer
183 views

Installation of latest version R for linux

First I typed sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list after that I got one sources list then I typed deb http://cran.rstudio.com/bin/linux/debian wheezy-cran3/ then I get the error like this No ...
47
votes
2answers
56k views

Difference between 2>&-, 2>/dev/null, |&, &>/dev/null and >/dev/null 2>&1

Just looking for the difference between 2>&- 2>/dev/null |& &>/dev/null >/dev/null 2>&1 and their portability with non-Bourne shells like tcsh, mksh, etc.
83
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
38
votes
2answers
67k views

How can I execute local script on remote machine and include arguments?

I have written a script that runs fine when executed locally: ./sysMole -time Aug 18 18 The arguments "-time", "Aug", "18", and "18" are successfully passed on to the script. Now, this script is ...
27
votes
3answers
19k views

What does ${1+“$@”} mean in a shell script, and how does it differ from “$@”?

In the Perl documentation, perlrun(1) suggests launching Perl scripts using a bilingual shell/Perl header: #!/bin/sh #! -*-perl-*- eval 'exec perl -x -wS $0 ${1+"$@"}' if 0; What does ${1+"$@"} ...
36
votes
7answers
3k views

Is test or [ or [[ more portable both between bash shells and between other shells?

I see I can do $ [ -w /home/durrantm ] && echo "writable" writable or $ test -w /home/durrantm && echo "writable" writable or $ [[ -w /home/durrantm ]] && echo ...
35
votes
2answers
20k views

What does “3>&1 1>&2 2>&3” do in a script?

I saw this line in a script: DEVICE=`dialog --inputbox "Festplatten-Laufzeit auslesen. Gebe Sie das gewünschte Device an: " 0 70 "" 3>&1 1>&2 2>&3` What is 3>&1 ...
32
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
45
votes
4answers
29k views

Clone ownership and permissions from another file?

Is there a command or flag to clone the user/group ownership and permissions on a file from another file? To make the perms and ownership exactly "like" that of another file?
41
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
26
votes
1answer
616 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
12k views

How can you log every command typed

How can you log every command someone has entered into the shell? I'm asking on both the basis of protecting yourself if you are logged into someone else's server and something breaks, or if someone ...