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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Posted by venu k
14 comments | 9:55 AM
Defining the Shell Type

To make a bash script crate a new file with a starting line like:
It is important that the path to the bash is proper and
first two characters must be “#!” . The shell from which you
are starting the script will find this line and hand the whole
script over to bash. Without this line the script would be
interpreted by the same type of shell as the one, from which
it was started.But since the syntax is different for all shells,
it is necessary to define the shell with that line.
Some typical interpreters for shebang lines:

• #!/bin/bash — Execute using the Bourn-again shell
• #!/bin/sh — Execute using the Bourn shell (if available) or a
Bourne compatible shell such as Bourne-again shell
• #!/usr/bin/ksh --- Execute using korn shell

In computing, a shebang (also called a hashbang, hashpling,
pound bang, or crunchbang) refers to the characters "#!" when
they are the first two characters in a text file. In a Unix-like
operating system, the program loader takes the presence of these
two characters as an indication that the file is a script, and
tries to execute that script using the interpreter specified by
the rest of the first line in the file. For instance, shell
scripts for the Bourne shell start with the first line:

Executing a shell script

Once a shell script is created, there are several ways to
execute it. However, before executing a shell script you must
assign proper permissions. Using chmod command you can change
file permissions.For example giving execute permission to the
file “temp”:
chmod +x temp
First create a sample shell script “temp”.

$cat > temp
echo "My name is `whoami`"
echo "Users are `users`"
echo "OS name is `uname -s`"
echo "current shell is $SHELL"

Method 1 to execute a shell script:


You must assign execute permission to the script.

With this method script is executed by interpreter which is
defined at sha-bang line.

Note: Script path should be relative to the current
directory then only this method works. If you want to execute a
script in the current directory you use ./scriptname. In fact if
you want to execute a script in the parent directory of your
current location you can use ../scriptname , as . means current
and .. means parent.

Run temp script.

[root@localhost shell]# ./temp
My name is root
Users are root root
OS name is Linux
current shell is /bin/bash

now change sha-bang line with #!/bin/ksh and execute the script

[root@localhost shell]# ./temp
bash: ./temp: /bin/ksh: bad interpreter: No such file or directory

now change sha-bang line with #!/bin/zsh and execute the script

[root@localhost shell]# ./temp
My name is root
Users are root root
OS name is Linux
current shell is /bin/bash

So wrong path to interpreter or bad interpreter gives error message.

Method 2 to execute a shell script:

you can execute the bash script by specifying the filename
as an argument to the bash,sh,zsh commands.
This is a bad way to call a script, since it will override
the #! at the beginning of the script.Depending on command you
used, current shell spawns relative subshell.

$sh temp
$bash temp
$zsh temp
My name is root
Users are king root root sai venu
OS name is Linux
Current shell is /bin/bash

Note: It is good to use proper command. Suppose your script is
korn shell script,then run it as:
ksh temp

Caution: In this method shell runs script in sub shell.
So you can't access some shell builtin variable values.
For example run bellow shell script:

echo $lines
echo $cols

$ sh sample
It prints nothing

Note: To solve this problem export current shell variables
using “export” command.Before executing script, export all
variables you need.

$ sh sample

Method 3 to execute a shell script:

you can execute the bash script by specifying the filename
as an argument to the . (dot) or source command. In this method
script will be run in current shell.
$ . temp
$ source temp

[root@localhost shell]# . temp
My name is root
Users are king root root sai venu
OS name is Linux
current shell is /bin/bash

[root@localhost shell]# source temp
My name is root
Users are king root root sai venu
OS name is Linux
current shell is /bin/bash

Try to unset variables at the end of the script. Otherwise
you will get add results. Variable and functions used in the
script will be alive after execution of the script.

create two files
cat > sample2
echo "n=$n m=$m"

cat > sample3
echo "n=$n m=$m" ctrl+d

Execute scripts using sh command

[root@localhost shell]# sh sample2
n=100 m=200
[root@localhost shell]# sh sample3
n=0 m=25

Now execute scripts using . Or source command

[root@localhost shell]# . sample2
n=100 m=200
[root@localhost shell]# . sample3
n=300 m=225

So be careful. Try to unset variables at the end of the script.

Method 4 to execute a shell script:

You can also execute scripts by just typing its name alone.
However, for this method to work, the directory containing the
script must be defined in your PATH variable and file must has
executable permission.

For example run “temp” script directly

[root@localhost shell]# temp
bash: temp: command not found

Now add your home directory to PATH variable(I am assuming
script located at home directory).


Now execute script with name, you will get result.

[root@localhost ~]# temp
My name is root
Users are king root root sai venu
OS name is Linux
current shell is /bin/bash

Suppose you changed “temp” script name to “ls”, what will
happen, which result you will get.

[root@localhost ~]# mv temp ls
[root@localhost ~]# ls
Desktop ls sample sample2 sample3

So you will get “ls” command output. Why ?

When you type name of any command at $ prompt, what shell
do is it first look that command in it's internal part(called
as internal command,which is part of shell itself, and always
available to execute),if found as internal command shell will
execute it, if not found then shell will look PATH setting,
and try to find our requested commands executable file in all
of the directories mentioned in PATH settings,if found it will
execute it, other wise it will give message
“bash:XXXX:command not found”.

So don't use command name as shell script.

Note:If you have two different files with same name in different
directories, which file will execute?
The directory which comes first in PATH setting will be executed.

First create a file “testscript” in home directory.

$ cat > testscript

Then create a directory “bin” in home directory
$ mkdir bin
Now create a file with same name “testscript” in bin dirctory.
$ cd bin
$ cat > testscript

Then add “bin” directory to PATH variable.If your “bin” directory
already in PATH setting leave it.


now check your path settings

[root@localhost ~]# echo $PATH

/root and /root/bin added to your PATH.
I added /root/bin directory before /root directory.

now execute “testscript” script

[root@localhost ~]# testscript
Sat Oct 10 06:57:14 IST 2009


  1. this is really gud yarr, keep it up

  2. In "Method 1" the shell script first should be given the executable permission, if it does not have by chmod.

    chmod +x script.sh

    1. I need to give executable permission through script.

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