I'm making myself a few "helper" scripts, and the first one is to install NodeJS. The first issue I've just solved, was getting source ~/.profile to persist changes. I found out running . /scripts/install-nodejs.sh makes this work, but without the leading ., it doesn't.

Is there anyway I can tell in the script if it was called with the period before it, so if it isn't I can output myself a message remind me how to call the script properly?

For reference, this is the script so far


echo -n "Installing NVM..."
apt-get -qq install curl > /dev/null
curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/creationix/nvm/v0.16.1/install.sh | sh > /dev/null
echo "Done!"
source ~/.profile

Also, side question, is there a way to describe when a script is called with a preceding period?

  • 1
    I suggest against using . or source to run a script. Doing so runs the script in the context of the current shell. You don't know how that will affect the environment within the current shell -- it may have unintended consequences on future operations performed from that shell. Jan 20, 2016 at 21:47
  • These scripts will be running a docker I'm using at home for a development. I understand the risks you say, but I'm my particular case, any thing that goes wrong, I can just reboot the docker container, and this would be one of the first commands run after boot.
    – TMH
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:49
  • see also unix.stackexchange.com/q/212943/117549
    – Jeff Schaller
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


The . is short hand for sourcing the script. Sourcing a script is like calling each of the commands by hand.

Check this out The Dot

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