There are a variety of user shells available. Each has it's own peculiarities, features and functionality.


  • C (csh)
  • Bourne (bsh)
  • Bourne Again (bash)
  • Korn (ksh)
  • Third Party (tcsh)
  • Z Shell

Shell Descriptions

C Shell (csh) - Prompt: '%'

The first shell written for Unix it was written in the C programming language and thus it's name. The c shell (csh) is simple and comes pre-packaged with most Unix versions. The syntax for most csh commands resembles the C programming language. Proponents of Perl and C tend to prefer this shell or the third party C shell.

Bourne Shell (sh)

The Bourne shell adds a few functions not found in the C shell and adds command editing. However, later shells added a command line history which the first bourne shell does not have.

Bourne Again Shell (BASH)

The Bourne Again shell is an updated and more capable version of the Bourne shell. BASH adds several features missing from the Bourne shell, such as a command history.

Korn Shell (ksh) - Prompt: '$'

Written by someon named Korn, this is one of the more capable shells. This has full command history, command line editing via the 'vi' editor, and a number of other features.

Third Party C Shell (tcsh)

Third Party C Shell was developed in various colleges and exists in several different flavors.

Z Shell (zsh)

I'm still looking for good documentation on shells, and this one is rather new. As soon as I find reliable information, I'll add it here.

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