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Possible Duplicate:
How to check if a shell is login/interactive/batch

And what's the benefits of non-login shell over login shell?

marked as duplicate by jasonwryan, Mat, Gilles, Renan, Caleb Nov 25 '12 at 23:03

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You can tell whether you're in a login shell using shopt:

dennis@lightning:~$ shopt login_shell
login_shell     off

As for the benefits: login shells generally do a bit more initialization (such as setting environment variables and cd'ing into $HOME) which aren't necessary for other shells. On the other hand, by default any shell launched from the gui is not a login shell, so most people configure their shell initscripts (~/.bashrc etc) to do all initialization for both login and non-login shells.

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    Yes for bash the configuration is often done in ~/.bashrc which is sourced in ~/.bash_profile to make life easier. – peterph Nov 25 '12 at 18:10

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