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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41
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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
618 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
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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 ...
20
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2answers
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What is meant by a shell is in “vi” mode or “emacs” mode?

This question follows directly from the answer. In this case I am specifically unable to understand the part which says: In that regard, its behaviour is closer to emacs' than with ...
31
votes
7answers
14k 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 ...
16
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14answers
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How to read an IP address backwards?

If we have this string (IP address): 192.168.1.1 How can I derive the (DNS reverse record form) from this string, so it will be shown like 1.1.168.192.in-addr.arpa using a shell script?
15
votes
1answer
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How do you use output redirection in combination with here-documents and cat?

Let's say I have a script that I want to pipe to another command or redirect to a file (piping to sh for the examples). Assume that I'm using bash. I could do it using echo: echo "touch somefile ...
15
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
10k views

what do you mean by interactive shell?

UNIX: The Complete Reference, Second Edition by Kenneth H. Rosen et al. You can start another shell after you log in by using the name of the shell as a command; for example, to start the ...
28
votes
3answers
64k views

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

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" ...
19
votes
4answers
6k views

What happens if you edit a script during execution?

I have a general question, which might be a result of misunderstanding of how processes are handled in Linux. For my purposes I am going to define a 'script' as a snippet of bash code saved to a text ...
17
votes
4answers
16k views

How to parse hundred html source code files in shell?

I have a couple of hundred html source code files. I need to extract the contents of a particular <div> element from each of these file so I'm going to write a script to loop through each file. ...
16
votes
8answers
28k views

How to compare to floating point number in a shell script

I want to compare two floating point numbers in a shell script. The following code is not working: #!/bin/bash min=12.45 val=10.35 if (( $val < $min )) ; then min=$val fi echo $min
19
votes
3answers
6k views

Rule for invoking subshell in Bash?

I seem to misunderstand the Bash rule for creating a subshell. I thought parentheses always creates a subshell, which runs as its own process. However, this doesn't seem to be the case. In Code ...
19
votes
4answers
11k views

Save complete GNU screen session state

Is it possible to persist the "state" of a GNU screen window (or just a standard shell) so that I can reload everything after a reboot: The number of opened shells The name of each shell The current ...
17
votes
9answers
13k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
9k 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: ...
14
votes
2answers
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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 ...
14
votes
3answers
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Can files be created with permissions set on the command line?

When creating directories, mkdir -m <mode> <dir> provides for creating one or more directories with the given mode/permissions set (atomically). Is there an equivalent for creating files, ...
12
votes
4answers
15k 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.
9
votes
4answers
12k 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: ...
29
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the correct name for the “>” command

I was trying to find how to pass some text to a file without overwriting what's there already using the > command and I realised I don't know what it's called. Searching for right arrow or right ...
23
votes
3answers
13k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
4k views

How to know the “level” of shells I am in?

If I open a terminal like xterm I will have a shell. Then if I use ssh or zsh I will have another "level" of shell. Is there a way to know how many times I have to Ctrl+D or type exit to exit all of ...
17
votes
2answers
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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
3answers
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What is the purpose of -e in sed command?

I can't find any documentation about the sed -e switch, for simple replace, do I need it? e.g. sed 's/foo/bar/' VS sed -e 's/foo/bar/'
10
votes
5answers
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How do I perform an action on all files with a specific extension in subfolders in an elegant way?

My current best bet is: for i in $(find . -name *.jpg); do echo $i; done Problem: does not handle spaces in filenames. Note: I would also love a graphical way of doing this, such as the "tree" ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does using `yes` on bash pipelines *not* cause infinite loops?

According to its documentation, bash waits until all commands in a pipeline have finished running before continuing The shell waits for all commands in the pipeline to terminate before returning a ...
13
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Pasting from clipboard to vi-enabled zsh or bash shell

I'd like to be able to paste from the system clipboard (or text selection) into my "vi-like" shell prompt using the keyboard. I normally use zsh and sometimes bash. In both cases, I have the shell set ...
3
votes
6answers
2k 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.
3
votes
1answer
3k views

pass 1 environment variable using sudo

Is this a correct way for passing an environment variable in sudo ? sudo -u www-data -b env FOOBAR="foobar" /home/user/folder/daemon
22
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5answers
8k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
16k views

How to remove blank lines from a file in shell?

I want to remove all empty lines from a file. Even if the line contains spaces or tabs it should also be removed.
9
votes
1answer
282 views

Security Implications of using unsanitized data in Shell Arithmetic evaluation

In a comment to a recent question, Stéphane Chazelas mentions that there are security implications to double parentheses arithmetic such as: x=$((1-$x)) on most shells. My Google skills seem to be ...
6
votes
3answers
873 views

Understanding environmental variables in different contexts

Trying to understand the behaviour of the environment in Linux (Ubuntu 13.04 concretely), I've find different situations where setting envirionment variables are used or defined for/in different ...
3
votes
1answer
894 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?
10
votes
4answers
36k views

Why is echo ignoring my quote characters?

The echo command isn't including the complete text that I give it. For example, if I do: $ echo ' echo PARAM=` grep $ARG /var/tmp/setfile | awk '{print $2}' ` ' It outputs: echo PARAM=` ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Quoted vs unquoted string expansion

for i in $(xrandr); do echo "$i" ; done for i in "$(xrandr)"; do echo "$i"; done for i in "$(xrandr)"; do echo $i; done I understand why 1 differs from 2. But why does 3 give a different output ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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
138 views

Fine-tune LS_COLORS for directory suffixes?

I’m fine customizing most settings in LS_COLORS. I don’t need help customizing the colors for different file suffixes. What I would like to do is configure special colors for certain directories, ...
4
votes
4answers
237 views

Renaming multiple files with rename

I need help renaming files in batch--the other questions I browsed don't exactly address my problem. The names of my files are generated non-deterministically, so I can't predict what they will be ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Is field splitting and filename expansion turn off in RHS of variable assignment portable?

In most POSIX compliant shell like bash. ksh, dash, mksh, pdksh, when variable assignment occur, field splitting and filename expansion (and brace expansion if the shell supports) are not performed in ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Why the behavior of while loop and for loop is different?

I am trying to read user and server details from file tempo.txt and then check the disk space usage of the file system on that unix account using another script server_disk_space.sh.But I am not able ...
1
vote
2answers
11k views

mounting problem during installation of archlinux on dell xps one

I've been trying to install archlinux on xps one. the screen doesn't work because it has intel g45/g43 express chipset. I had to use nomodeset option as mentioned in the installation guide. Arch ...
12
votes
0answers
359 views

Should I use $* or $@? [duplicate]

Which one of $* or $@ is better to use (in array syntax,command line parameters, etc.) to avoid any bugs/problems in code? Or it does not make any difference?
12
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3answers
5k views

How do I temporarily bypass an alias in tcsh?

I am using tcsh. bash and zsh and other suggestions won't help here. I have several aliases that are named the same thing as another command, so if I did unalias it, typing the same thing would now ...
10
votes
1answer
362 views

regarding portable sed -e… d b or ! b?

In this edit Stéphane Chazelas POSIXifies (again) my sed formatting by inserting an -expression break and another -expression statement. Now, I might just ask him why in the comments, I suppose, but ...
9
votes
7answers
3k 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
4answers
255 views

is the behaviour of .* to include . and .. defined in LSB or POSIX or some other specification?

as title: is the behaviour of .* to include . and .. defined in LSB or POSIX or some other specification?