Is the shell only an addon to the terminal, so that a terminal daemon has to work in order to to start a shell as its frontend. What controll does the terminal exherts upon the shell?

marked as duplicate by jasonwryan, Anthon, jimmij, slm Feb 12 '15 at 0:31

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The shell is just a process that is controlled by the terminal, but this is also the case for most processes started by the shell itself. So, there is nothing special with the shell. For more information about terminals and shells in particular, you may be interested by: What is the exact difference between a 'terminal', a 'shell', a 'tty' and a 'console'?

Note also that you can run any command in a terminal, e.g.

xterm -e mutt

to run the Mutt mail user agent in xterm. There doesn't need to be a shell.


They are quite distinct:

  • A terminal provides a way to enter and display characters on a screen.

  • The shell provides a way to have the operating system execute commands.

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