May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Shell Papers, E-books and Tutorials


The main shell page

Best Shell Books

Recommended Articles O'Reilly CD Bookshelfs


{****} Overview Documentation for Bash Bash Reference Manual - Table of Contents -- Edition 2.2, for bash Version 2.02. 1 April 1998 Command and Shell User's Guide -- good reference from Digital . See also Digital UNIX UXP/V User's Guide -- contains good Shell Tutorial (FUJITSU LIMITED 1997) Shell Scripts and Awk on the CUED Teaching System >UNIX Shell Programming

Classic Unix Tools


Softpanorama Unix Shell Dotfiles Page

Examples Shell Prompts Etc

There is no really outstanding online shell books or tutorials.  There are some average and one good. Among free tutorials you should look at one from Digital Unix. The best open book is Learning Korn Shell  (available on CD in HTML format from O'Reilly). The second edition is probably the best into/intermediate book for ksh88.

The third edition is only good (and is definitely less impressive then the second, ksh88 oriented edition) intro/intermediate coverage of  ksh93. This is now a problem with many O'Reilly books: the original authors lost interest in the subject or retired, and "hired guns" cannot produce the same quality and adequate update of the material. 

There is also a similar book devoted to bash Learning the Bash Shell also available on CD, but it is also weaker then the second edition of  Learning Korn Shell .  Generally it is highly recommended to get O'Reilly Unix bookshelf CD. The third edition contains one excellent, one good and two average books:

**** Unix Power Tools, 3rd Edition;

??? Learning the Unix Operating System, 5th Edition;

??? Learning the vi Editor, 6th Edition;

??? Mac OS X for Unix Geeks;

***** Learning the Korn Shell, 2nd Edition;

*** sed & awk, 2nd Edition;

*** Unix in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition.

If you need to learn ksh you probably will be better off buying a good into book for the OS you are using that using online material in addition to an online book mentioned above. For example for Solaris one can use A Practical Guide to Solaris, for Linux A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux 8 (but do not buy more recent Fedora-based edition,  as it lucks the reference section).  Both are pretty cheap now on Amazon.

Learning shell involves learning a lot of Unix utilities and such a book can save you time and is a definitely better learning path than any "pure shell" offerings. 

Again learning shell means also learning classic Unix utilities and that a separate large area of study that should not be overlooked neither by the student nor teachers of the into shell courses.  See Softpanorama University Classic Unix Tools Page and Pipes -- powerful and elegant programming paradigm

Good luck with your shell classes and remember that selection of right teacher is half of the success ;-)

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov

Top updates

Softpanorama Switchboard
Softpanorama Search


Old News ;-)

Please visit Heiner Steven SHELLdorado: the best shell scripting site on the Internet

[Apr 4, 2008] Bash Guide for Beginners by Machtelt Garrels

Table of Contents
1. Bash and Bash scripts
2. Writing and debugging scripts
3. The Bash environment
4. Regular expressions
5. The GNU sed stream editor
6. The GNU awk programming language
7. Conditional statements
8. Writing interactive scripts
9. Repetitive tasks
10. More on variables
11. Functions
12. Catching signals
A. Shell Features
B. GNU Free Documentation License

[Aug 22, 2007] LPI exam 102 prep: Shells, scripting, programming, and compiling,"

[Feb 14, 2007] -- Online Catalog Learning the bash Shell, Third Edition

[Feb 14, 2007] Unix Power Tools, Third Edition

[Mar 25, 2005] Unix shell scripting with sh-ksh

Course Handout: (last update 21 March 2005) by Richard Brittain, Dartmouth College Computing Services. Available as separate Web pages and one document. the latter can serve as a good reference.

Copyright status: Permission is granted to download and use these notes and example scripts, as long as all copyright notices are kept intact. Some of the examples are taken from texts or online resources which have granted permission to redistribute. Contents:

1. What is a shell script
2. Why use shell scripts
3. History
4. Feature comparison
5. Other scripting languages
6. ksh/bash vs sh
7. Basics
8. Filename Wildcards
9. Variables
10. Preset Variables
11. Arguments
12. Shell options
13. Command substitution
14. I/O redirection and pipelines
15. Input and output
16. Conditional Tests
17. Conditional Tests (contd.)
18. Flow control
19. Flow control (contd.)
20. Conditional test examples
21. Miscellaneous
22. Manipulating Variables
23. Functions
24. Advanced I/O
25. Wizard I/O
26. Coprocesses
27. Signals
28. Security
29. Style
30. Examples
31. Common external commands
32. References

Korn Shell (ksh) Programming

Rc ≠ The Plan 9 Shell a very interesting paper. Must read.

Learning Red Hat Linux, 2nd Edition Chapter 13 Advanced Shell Usage and Shell Scripts

Nicely written chapter with a lot of tips useful for beginners.

Using the UNIX Platform on the Rensselaer Computing System (RCS) Memo RPI.113 Academic Computing Services, June 2001 Learn HOWTOs - Advanced Bash-Scripting HOWTO by Mendel Cooper --Advanced Bash-Scripting HOWTO: A guide to shell scripting, using Bash. Nice tutorial

The Solaris 2.7 Common Desktop Environment: Desktop KornShell User's Guide Answerbook is available online (the dtksh is a ksh93 with Motif extensions).

{***+} Bourne Shell Programming by Robert Sayle Online book. Pretty good.[link updated Jan 29, 2000. ]

Bourne Shell Programming teaches UNIX users how to harness the power of the shell. The book assumes that the reader has at least a general knowledge of UNIX including its commands, syntax, and operation. It also assumes that the reader also understands simple programming techniques inherent to most programming languages. The book does not provide instruction on the basics of UNIX. It instead builds upon these basics by showing how to combine them with the shell's programming facilities. The goal is to train users to employ these techniques at both the command line and within scripts so that the operating system becomes a tool instead of a hindrance.

This book was written over the course of a number of years mainly because the author switched career paths. The change consequently resulted in a text tested against two different versions of UNIX. Some examples are shown in Sun Solaris 2.4 while others are given from Linux Slackware 3.2. Readers are cautioned to check their local operating system's manual pages on any command demonstrated for proper syntax and operation.

The author realizes he is prone to error and respectfully requests any corrections be forwarded by email. Suggestions on improving this book are also welcome as are offers to publish it through traditional channels.

For notes on the format of this book, the reader is directed to the conventions listed in the book's foreword.

This book was derived from a class created and presented at ARINC Inc, Newport Beach, CA.

AIX Bourne shell tutorial from UCF Computer Services AIX on-line manual. There are several mirrors for AIX docs online AIX Version 4.3 System User's Guide Operating System and Devices see also mirror About This Guide

[Jun 15, 1999] Idaho State University Basic UNIX Tutorial -- good; not only potato can grow in Idaho :-)

[Nov 17, 1998] Shell Quoting Guidelines V 1.2 by Tim Maher

[Nov 17, 1998] How to write a shell script

Old possibly broken links

Overview Documentation for Bash

This is an outdated documentation for bash 1.14 available from many places on the Internet.

Advanced Bash Scripting Guide

The Advanced Bash Scripting Guide is both a reference and a tutorial on shell scripting. This comprehensive book (the equivalent of about 646 print pages) covers almost every aspect of shell scripting. It contains over 300 profusely commented illustrative examples, and a number of tables.

Not just a shell scripting tutorial, this book also provides an introduction to basic programming techniques, such as sorting and recursion. It is well suited for either individual study or classroom use.

>UNIX Shell Programming

UNIX Bourne Shell Programming contains a good introduction to the Bourne Shell and has a chapter about KSH Programming, too. download Zip-archive with the book (116 KB).




APPENDIXES A - sh B - test C - expr D - ftp E - cc F - f77 G - lint H - cb I - ar J - time K - ksh

University Courses


 LPI exam 102 prep: Shells, scripting, programming, and compiling

Bash Guide for Beginners by Machtelt Garrels

Table of Contents
1. Bash and Bash scripts
2. Writing and debugging scripts
3. The Bash environment
4. Regular expressions
5. The GNU sed stream editor
6. The GNU awk programming language
7. Conditional statements
8. Writing interactive scripts
9. Repetitive tasks
10. More on variables
11. Functions
12. Catching signals
A. Shell Features
B. GNU Free Documentation License

Recommended Articles and Book Chapters


Please visit  Heiner Steven SHELLdorado  the best shell scripting site on the Internet

Examples from Bash Cookbook

Examples from Learning the bash Shell, 2nd Edition

Examples from Learning the Korn Shell

Examples from Learning the Korn Shell, 2nd Edition (this is actually a weaker book then the first edition)

Examples from   Unix Power Tools, Third Edition


FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit exclusivly for research and educational purposes.   If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

ABUSE: IPs or network segments from which we detect a stream of probes might be blocked for no less then 90 days. Multiple types of probes increase this period.  


Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least

Copyright © 1996-2016 by Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov. was created as a service to the UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) in the author free time. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License.

The site uses AdSense so you need to be aware of Google privacy policy. You you do not want to be tracked by Google please disable Javascript for this site. This site is perfectly usable without Javascript.

Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.

FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.

This is a Spartan WHYFF (We Help You For Free) site written by people for whom English is not a native language. Grammar and spelling errors should be expected. The site contain some broken links as it develops like a living tree...

You can use PayPal to make a contribution, supporting development of this site and speed up access. In case is down you can use the at


The statements, views and opinions presented on this web page are those of the author (or referenced source) and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the author present and former employers, SDNP or any other organization the author may be associated with. We do not warrant the correctness of the information provided or its fitness for any purpose.

Last modified: June 04, 2016