Friday, July 9, 2010

The Bourne Again Shell

The Bourne Again Shell is based on the Bourne Shell which was written by Steve Bourne of AT&T’s Bell Laboratories. Over the years the original Bourne Shell has been expanded but it remains the basic shell provided with many commercial versions of UNIX.

sh Shell
Because of its long and successful history, the original Bourne Shell has been used to write many of the shell scripts that help manage UNIX systems. Some of these scripts appear in Linux as Bourne Again Shell scripts. Although the Bourne Again Shell includes many extensions and features not found in the original Bourne Shell, bash maintains compatibility with the original Bourne Shell so you can run Bourne Shell scripts under bash. On UNIX systems the original Bourne Shell is named sh. On Linux systems sh is a symbolic link to bash ensuring that scripts that require the presence of the Bourne Shell still run. When called as sh, bash does its best to emulate the original Bourne Shell.

Korn Shell
System V UNIX introduced the Korn Shell (ksh), written by David Korn. This shell extended many features of the original Bourne Shell and added many new features. Some features of the Bourne Again Shell, such as command aliases and commandline editing, are based on similar features from the Korn Shell.

POSIX standards
The POSIX (the Portable Operating System Interface) family of related standards is being developed by PASC (IEEE’s Portable Application Standards Committee, A comprehensive FAQ on POSIX, including many links, appears at

POSIX standard 1003.2 describes shell functionality. The Bourne Again Shell provides the features that match the requirements of this POSIX standard. Efforts are under way to make the Bourne Again Shell fully comply with the POSIX standard. In the meantime, if you invoke bash with the ––posix option, the behavior of the Bourne Again Shell will more closely match the POSIX requirements.

Source of Information : Prentice Hall A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5th Edition

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