bash Cookbook

By Carl Albing, JP Vossen, Cameron Newham
First Edition May 2007
Published by O'Reilly

The key to mastering any Unix system, especially Linux and Mac OS X, is a thorough knowledge of shell scripting. Scripting is a way to harness and customize the power of any Unix system, and it's an essential skill for any Unix users, including system administrators and professional OS X developers. But beneath this simple promise lies a treacherous ocean of variations in Unix commands and standards.

bash Cookbook teaches shell scripting the way Unix masters practice the craft. It presents a variety of recipes and tricks for all levels of shell programmers so that anyone can become a proficient user of the most common Unix shell - the bash shell - and cygwin or other popular Unix emulation packages. Packed full of useful scripts, along with examples that explain how to create better scripts, this new cookbook gives professionals and power users everything they need to automate routine tasks and enable them to truly manage their systems - rather than have their systems manage them.

Executing commands

The main purpose of bash (or of any shell) is to allow you to interact with the computer's operating system so that you can accomplish whatever you need to do. Usually that involves launching programs, so the shell takes the commands you type, determines from that input what programs need to be run, and launches them for you. Let's take a look at the basic mechanism for launching jobs and explore some of the features bash offers for launching programs in the foreground or the background, sequentially or in parallel, indicating whether programs succeeded and more.

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