The bash shell

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Bash is the shell, or command language interpreter, for the Linux operating system. The name is an acronym for the Bourne-Again SHell, a pun on Stephen Bourne, the author of the direct ancestor of the current Unix shell sh, which appeared in the Seventh Edition Bell Labs Research version of Unix Bash Reference Manual[1].

Introduction to BASH

  • Developed by GNU project.
  • The default Linux shell.
  • Backword-compatible with the original sh UNIX shell.
  • Bash is largely compatible with sh and incorporates useful features from the Korn shell ksh and the C shell csh.
  • Bash is the default shell for Linux. However, it does runs on every version of Unix and a few other operating systems such as ms-dos, os/2, and Windows platforms.

Quoting from the offcial Bash home page:

Bash is the shell, or command language interpreter, that will appear in the GNU operating system. It is intended to conform to the IEEE POSIX P1003.2/ISO 9945.2 Shell and Tools standard. It offers functional improvements over sh for both programming and interactive use. In addition, most sh scripts can be run by Bash without modification.

The improvements offered by BASH include:

  • Command line editing.
  • Command line completion.
  • Unlimited size command history.
  • Job Control.
  • Prompt control.
  • Shell Functions and Aliases.
  • Indexed arrays of unlimited size.
  • Integer arithmetic in any base from two to sixty-four.

External links


  1. Bash Reference Manual.