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
5answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
280 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
780 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
824 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?
17
votes
9answers
12k views

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

I want to print lines from a file backwards without using tac command. Is there any other solution to do such thing with bash?
12
votes
7answers
11k 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" ...
10
votes
4answers
32k 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
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 ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

Turn list into single line with delimiter

I have to take a list (loads) of IP addresses in this format: 134.27.128.0 111.245.48.0 109.21.244.0 and turn them into this format with a pipe in-between (IPs made up) 134.27.128.0 | ...
4
votes
1answer
124 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
224 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
81 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
10k 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
358 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?
10
votes
1answer
353 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 ...
7
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
243 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?
4
votes
4answers
484 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Scripting `rm` and `rm -i`

I want to create a script that whenever there are more than three files being removed, it invokes rm -i by default. I know it will go in initialization files but can't seem to get it working. So far: ...
2
votes
3answers
88 views

Searching a keyword in multiple pdf files

I want to search for a specific keyword in multiple pdf file using pdftotext command. Normally we can search inside a single pdf file using the following command: pdftotext file.pdf - | grep keyword ...
2
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
12k views

Carriage return issue

I have this in a bash script DAY2="20130605"<Cr> echo "This is yesterday date:"$DAY2"end" Why is the output the following? It seems as though there is a carriage return in DAY2 but where is ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

renaming multiple files increment order

I have the following files SSt12.precip.374.sub.climatology.ctl SSt12.precip.2874.sub.climatology.ctl SSt12.precip.3764.sub.climatology.ctl SSt12.precip.6774.sub.climatology.ctl I want to rename ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Why does the command shuf file > file leave an empty file?

I know this is sort of a duplicate of another question (Why this sort command gives me an empty file?) but I wanted to expand on the question in response to the answers given. The command shuf ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

What is the “~/” directory?

I'm trying to locate where some files are stored and I can easily browse to them via ssh by going to "cd ~/foldername", however, I have no idea what directory "~/" actually is. When I browse around ...
-1
votes
1answer
107 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 ...
123
votes
8answers
160k 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 ...
124
votes
5answers
276k 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 ...
58
votes
4answers
100k 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 ...
80
votes
11answers
92k views

How to add a newline to the end of a file?

Using version control systems I get annoyed at the noise when the diff says No newline at end of file. So I was wondering: How to add a newline at the end of a file to get rid off those messages?
85
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
32
votes
6answers
4k views

When do you use brace expansion?

I understand what brace expansion is, but I don't know how best to use it. When do you use it? Please teach me some convenient and remarkable examples if you have your own tip.
99
votes
3answers
11k views

Why is “echo” so much faster than “touch”?

I'm trying to update the timestamp to the current time on all of the xml files in my directory (recursively). I'm using Mac OSX 10.8.5. On about 300,000 files, the following echo command takes 10 ...
63
votes
5answers
43k views

How to go to the previous working directory in terminal?

In terminal, how can I define a key to go to the previous directory which I was in when changing directory with the cd command? For example, I'm in /opt/soft/bin and I cd into /etc/squid3 and I want ...
32
votes
12answers
2k 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 ...
56
votes
9answers
93k views

How can I get the size of a file in a bash script?

How can I get the size of a file in a bash script? How do I assign this to a bash variable so I can use it later?
66
votes
4answers
18k views

What is the difference between “&&” and “;” when chaining commands

What is the difference between the following methods of chaining commands? cmd1; cmd2 cmd1 && cmd2
32
votes
1answer
1k 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, ...
44
votes
3answers
39k views

How to remove a single line from history?

I'm working in Mac OSX, so I guess I'm using bash...? Sometimes I enter something that I don't want to be remembered in the history. How do I remove it?
40
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I open an incognito bash session?

Is it possible to open an incognito session in bash? For example, when we need to enter passwords in commands and don't want bash to add them to history.
38
votes
6answers
62k views

How can I test if a variable is empty or contains only spaces?

The following bash syntax verifies if param isn't empty: [[ ! -z $param ]] For example: param="" [[ ! -z $param ]] && echo "I am not zero" No output and its fine. But when param ...
37
votes
5answers
19k views

Does /usr/sbin/nologin as a login shell serve a security purpose?

In my /etc/passwd file, I can see that the www-data user used by Apache, as well as all sorts of system users, have either /usr/sbin/nologin or /bin/false as their login shell. For example, here is a ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

Which are the standard commands available in every Linux based distribution?

I would like to know which are the standard commands available in every Linux system. For example if you get a debian/ubuntu/redhat/suse/arch/slackware etc, you will always find there commands like: ...
28
votes
4answers
6k views

Process substitution and pipe

I was wondering how to understand the following: Piping the stdout of a command into the stdin of another is a powerful technique. But, what if you need to pipe the stdout of multiple ...
16
votes
2answers
24k views

Why does Ctrl-D (EOF) exit the shell?

Are you literally "ending a file" by inputting this escape sequence, i.e. is the interactive shell session is seen as a real file stream by the shell, like any other file stream? If so, which file? ...
55
votes
10answers
65k views

How do I convert an epoch timestamp to a human readable format on the cli?

How do I convert an epoch timestamp to a human readable format on the cli? I think there's a way to do it with date but the syntax eludes me (other ways welcome).
30
votes
2answers
3k views

How does `cat <> file` work?

cat < file prints the contents of file to stdout. cat > file reads stdin until Ctrl+D is detected and the input text is written to file. cat <> file, at least in my version of Bash, ...
30
votes
6answers
16k views

determining path to sourced shell script

Is there a way for a sourced shell script to find out the path to itself? I'm mainly concerned with bash, though I have some coworkers who use tcsh. I'm guessing I may not have a ton of luck here, ...
26
votes
6answers
36k views

How to copy some, but not all files?

So, you can use the * as a wild card for all files when using cp within context of a directory. Is there a way to copy all files except x file?