Bash Reference Manual

Reference Documentation for Bash

Edition 4.2, for Bash Version 4.2.

December 2010

Chet Ramey, Case Western Reserve University
Brian Fox, Free Software Foundation

This text is a brief description of the features that are present in the Bash shell (version 4.2, 28 December 2010).

This is Edition 4.2, last updated 28 December 2010, of The GNU Bash Reference Manual, for Bash, Version 4.2.

Copyright © 1988–2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with the Front-Cover texts being “A GNU Manual”, and with the Back-Cover Texts as in (a) below. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.

(a) The FSF’s Back-Cover Text is: You are free to copy and modify this GNU manual. Buying copies from GNU Press supports the FSF in developing GNU and promoting software freedom.”


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Bash Features

This text is a brief description of the features that are present in the Bash shell (version 4.2, 28 December 2010).

This is Edition 4.2, last updated 28 December 2010, of The GNU Bash Reference Manual, for Bash, Version 4.2.

Bash contains features that appear in other popular shells, and some features that only appear in Bash. Some of the shells that Bash has borrowed concepts from are the Bourne Shell (‘sh’), the Korn Shell (‘ksh’), and the C-shell (‘csh’ and its successor, ‘tcsh’). The following menu breaks the features up into categories based upon which one of these other shells inspired the feature.

This manual is meant as a brief introduction to features found in Bash. The Bash manual page should be used as the definitive reference on shell behavior.


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