Author: Brett Johansen
The command line is a powerful way to interact with a Linux computer. Instead of using the mouse, you just type commands into the shell. (The shell is a blank window where you type in your commands.) So for example, instead of clicking on your file browser, you simply type ls [enter] to display the contents of your working directory.
There are several different shells. The original shell is sh, or the Bourne Shell. It was developed by Stephen Bourne at Bell Laboratories. It’s still in use today. Check for it in your /bin directory.
The C Shell, or csh, created at the University of California, Berkeley, has a different command language than sh. A lot of csh commands won’t work in an sh shell and vice versa. And for some time, the only shell options were sh and csh.
The csh shell was created for Linux/Unix nerds who coded in the C programming language and wanted a shell that used a similar language. So csh was born. And so these two shells created a bit of a rift in Linux land. Sort of like the Ford/Chevy debate. Linux users love to argue about which tool is better.
Well, there are always options with Linux. So it wasn’t long before other shells came about.
The tcsh shell is csh compatible, but has a bunch more nerdy features like auto-spelling correction, scheduling the time when you want to execute a command, and command line editing. This all sounds great, but for some reason, tcsh didn’t catch on.
The korn shell, created by David Korn is sh compatible, but had a bunch of C shell features. The korn shell is sort of the best of sh and tcsh in one package. It is the default shell on some distros.
The bash shell (Bourne again shell) was created by the FSF (Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project). Bash is fully sh compatible and has many csh features as well. Bash comes default on many distros as well.
The Z shell, or zsh, developed by Paul Falstad has become quite popular, especially among Linux users. It is similar to ksh and sh both in syntax and function, and it is partially compatible with csh.
So there it is, the shell roundup. Currently, Ubuntu has bash as its default. The main thing is to test them out and see which one you like, or is most compatible with your needs.
About the Author
Brett writes about computers, old school safety razor shaving and blue nitrile gloves! Check out his site all about blue nitrile gloves, a great barrier against infection. Black Nitrile Gloves are also available and used often by mechanics and tattoo artists.