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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33
votes
5answers
41k 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).
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Best practice to use $? in bash?

When I read this answer about $? another question comes to mind. Is there any best practice for how to use $? in bash? Let's have a example: We have a linear script and I we would like to know ...
24
votes
6answers
11k 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, ...
22
votes
6answers
62k 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 ...
20
votes
8answers
42k views

List only regular files (but not directories) in current directory

I can use ls -ld */ to list all the directory entries in the current directory. Is there a similarly easy way to just list all the regular files in the current directory? I know I can use find find . ...
19
votes
6answers
890 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

Why do I have to re-set env vars in tmux when I re-attach?

I mainly work on a mac and ssh/tmux attach to a Linux machine to do my work. I have ssh-agent running on the Linux machine. I have set -g update-environment "SSH_AUTH_SOCK SSH_ASKPASS WINDOWID ...
17
votes
2answers
5k 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
4answers
2k views

How to do a continous 'wc -l' with gnu texttools?

I know of course that cat logfile.txt | wc -l 120 will tell me the number of lines in a file. Whereas tail -f logfile.txt will show me the new lines that another program writes to logfile.txt. ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Shell Script mktemp, what's the best method to create temporary named pipe?

I'm aware its best to create temporary files with mktemp, but what about named pipes? I have an idea, I'm sure it would work, but I would really like an expert opinion. I prefer things to be as ...
39
votes
4answers
1k views

What exactly is an environment variable?

I know that VARIABLE=value creates an environment variable, and export VARIABLE=value makes it available to processes created by the current shell. env shows the current environment variables, but ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “${-#*i}” != “$-” mean?

In /etc/profile I see this: for i in /etc/profile.d/*.sh ; do if [ -r "$i" ]; then if [ "${-#*i}" != "$-" ]; then . "$i" else . "$i" >/dev/null 2>&1 ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

GNU parallel vs & (I mean background) vs xargs -P

I'm confused about the difference or advantage (if any) of running a set of tasks in a .sh script using GNU parallel E.g. Ole Tange's answer: parallel ./pngout -s0 {} R{} ::: *.png rather than say ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Can't indent heredoc to match nesting's indent

If there's a "First World Problems" for scripting, this would be it. I have the following code in a script I'm updating: if [ $diffLines -eq 1 ]; then dateLastChanged=$(stat --format '%y' ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a difference between `;` and `&&` and `|`? [duplicate]

When you want to run multiple commands you can use ;, && and | Like this: killall Finder; killall SystemUIServer, cd ~/Desktop/ && rm Caches Or: man grep | man cat for example. But, ...
25
votes
3answers
1k views

Multicolored Grep

I'm trying to get each grep command to highlight it's results in a different color. I can do it manually with a line like this: ls -l GREP_COLORS='mt=01;32' grep c | GREP_COLORS='mt=01;31' grep o | ...
25
votes
4answers
30k 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
7k views

Parenthesis in bash arithmetic: 3 * (2 + 1)

expr does not seem to like parenthesis (used in mathematics to explicit operator priority): expr 3 * (2 + 1) bash: syntax error near unexpected token `(' How to express operator priority in bash?
19
votes
3answers
37k views

How do I switch from an unknown shell to bash?

I was surprised that I didn't find this question already on the site. So, today $ came up after I logged in as a new user. This was unexpected because my main user's prompt starts with ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

find searching in parent directories instead of subdirectories

I'm nested deep in a file tree, and I'd like to find which parent directory contains a file. E.g. I'm in a set of nested Git repositories and want to find the .git directory controlling the files I'm ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What happens when we type a simple command on shell? [duplicate]

I have a simple doubt on execution of a simple command. As per my understanding, when we type a command such as ls on interactive shell, Shell interpretes the command. Shell creates a child process ...
12
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
941 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
498 views

Expansion of a shell variable and effect of glob and split on it

This post actually contains two separate questions but I think grouping them together will give some more context. I have gone through this question on quotes around variables but I do not quite ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it safe to type another command into STDIN while the previous command is writing to STDOUT?

Perhaps this has been answered previously, I would welcome a link to another answer... If I execute a shell command (in a bash shell) like the following: make Then while the output from make is ...
18
votes
6answers
25k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

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, ...
7
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
3k 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
3k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
30k 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" ...
16
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
6k 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?
12
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
19k views

Confusing use of && and || operators

I was skimming through an /etc/rc.d/init.d/sendmail file (I know this is hardly ever used, but I'm studying for an exam), and I've become a bit confused about the && and the || operators. ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Where has the trailing newline char gone from my command substitution?

The following code best describes the situation.  Why is the last line not outputting the trailing newline char?  Each line's output is shown in the comment.  I'm using GNU bash, version 4.1.5 ...
10
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
7k 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
468 views

Is it possible to use shell parameter variables ($1, …, $@) directly in CLI?

Sometimes it is necessary to emulate and verify the above variables in small examples and then can be copied immediately to some script, etc. I tried to solve by using a simple example in the ...
7
votes
3answers
696 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
2answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
250 views

How can I force bash to deallocate a brace expanded variable without name?

For benchmarking, I ran the command: for i in {1..100000000}; do echo "$i" line >> file done Bash expanded the braces and stored the list 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 100000000 in memory. I thought ...
5
votes
5answers
25k views

How to start a program in the background

The program Boblight does not run in background. There is no noticeable difference between executing sudo boblightd and sudo boblightd& How can I solve this problem that the console will ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Where do I change my shell?

If I wanted to use zsh, for instance, rather than bash, where would I make this change for the current user?
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it possible in unix to search inside zip files

I have 100s of directories and within those I have a few zip files. Now there are images named abc.jpg in those zip files. The zip files may be in any folder or in any subfolder so its difficult to ...
3
votes
7answers
899 views

Batch renaming of files [duplicate]

I have a directory full of images: DSCN4749.JPG DSCN4750.JPG DSCN4892.JPG ... And I would like a one-liner to rename them to (say). dscn4749.jpg dscn4750.jpg dscn4892.jpg ... How do I do this? ...