Who, What, Where, Why


Learning the shell

Writing shell scripts

Script library

SuperMan pages


William Shotts, Jr. is the V.P. of Technical Services for a company that produces scientific image analysis software for legacy operating systems. He has been a Linux user since 1994. He is the creator and administrator of this site. If you are brave, you can view his personal site here.

Karen Shotts is an office manager for a chip maker by day and an actress by night. She helps out by checking the spelling and grammar, so if you see any mistakes, it's her fault.

Jogeir Lindseth contributed the floppytools package to the Script library.

Norman Robinson wrote the Reading Man Pages lesson in the SuperMan Pages.

Want to become a Who? Just download the Contributors Kit and get to work. We would love to have you.

A dedication: This site is dedicated to Ricardo, Ellen, Frank, and Scott, whose need of migration inspired me to build this site. Thanks.


Our mission: LinuxCommand.org is a Linux education and advocacy site devoted to helping users of legacy operating systems migrate into the future.

LinuxCommand.org Discussion Mailing List Discuss issues of importance to the migrating community. Contribute tips and tricks, ideas for the site. You can subscribe here. You can view the mailing list archives, here.

LinuxCommand.org Announcement Mailing List This list provides announcements of new updates and additions to the site and script library. It's the best way to keep up with the latest developments at LinuxCommand.org. You can subscribe here. You can view the mailing list archives, here.

Recommended reading: Here are some books on bash and shell programming I recommend:

Learning The Bash Shell

Learning the Bash Shell, Second Edition By Cameron Newham and Bill Rosenblatt

This is another one of the great books from O'Riley. While this is not a really a book for absolute beginners, it is clearly written and fairly complete.

Unix Shell Programming

UNIX Shell Programming, Revised Edition By Stephen G. Kochan and Patrick H. Wood

This book is rather dated and does not cover bash specifically (it is focused on the generic Bourne shell "sh"), but this is a really good book on shell programming. I think the order of presentation is excellent. While this book does not cover bash, all the scripts will work since sh is a subset of bash.

The AWK Programming Language

The AWK Programming Language by Alfred Aho, Brian Kernighan, and Peter Weinberger

AWK is a programming language that is often inserted into shell scripts. The syntax of AWK is very similar to the C programming language in which Linux/Unix and its utilities are written. Learning AWK will make you familiar with concepts that appear in many other programs. This book, written by the orginal authors of the language, is probably the finest programming book I have ever read. Filled with examples and clear explanations, this book will give you a taste for the power of this useful language. Note that this book is skinny and expensive, but I think it's well worth it.


Linux/Unix Shell Scripting Sites

Heiner's SHELLdorado

SHELLdorado is a shell scripting education site. It features tutorials on various scripting topics and a large collection of shell scripts and functions.

Bash Reference Manual

Bash Reference Manual from the GNU project. This is an online reference manual from the people who wrote bash: the Free Software Foundation.

Bash By Example, Part 1
Bash By Example, Part 2
Bash By Example, Part 3
Awk By Example, Part 1
Awk By Example, Part 2

Bash/Awk By Example is a series of tutorials presented by IBM.

Advanced Bash Scripting HOWTO

The Advanced Bash Scripting HOWTO is a detailed look at bash shell programming. A thoughtful treatment with lots of examples and exercises. A good companion piece for the LinuxCommand.org tutorials. Part of the Linux Documentation Project.

Bash Prompt HOWTO

The Bash Prompt HOWTO is a surprisingly interesting discussion of all the things you can make the prompt do. From the Linux Documentation Project.

Hard Core Linux Sites

Linux From Scratch

The Linux From Scratch tutorial will step you through the process of building a complete Linux system from source code.

"From Power Up To Bash Prompt" HOWTO

The From Power Up To Bash Prompt HOWTO tutorial builds a bare system, in a similar way to the "Linux From Scratch" tutorial, but it focuses more on just installing a bootable system instead of a complete system.

General Purpose Linux Sites

Linux Documentation Project

The Linux Documentation Project contains the most important documents for the Linux user. Be sure to check out the many HOWTOs and Guides.


Andamooka - Open Support for Open Content provides free, online books including several very good Linux programming and administration books.


freshmeat.net is a site devoted to the latest news on software releases. Updated daily, this site is a great place to find Linux applications.

Linux Weekly News

Linux Weekly News is the mature voice of the Linux community. Excellent news coverage and thoughtful commentary. Cool penguin gallery too. Also in a daily edition.

Linux Today

Linux Today lists breaking news events regarding Linux and the open source community.


NewsForge is another good source of breaking news of concern to the community.


slashdot.org is the world famous "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." news and discussion site.

Linux Standards

Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard

The Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard describes the standard layout of a Linux system. A good site to visit if you want to learn how and why Linux is organized the way it is.

Linux Standard Base

Linux Standard Base is a project devoted to developing a standard for Linux distributions.

Fighting For Your Freedom

The Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF is working to protect our fundamental rights regardless of technology; to educate the press, policymakers and the general public about civil liberties issues related to technology; and to act as a defender of those liberties.


Digitalconsumer.org is a consumer-advocacy group working to preserve consumers personal-use media rights.

Home Recording Rights Coalition

HRRC works in Washington to protect your right to buy and use audio and video recorders, players, and PCs.

Digital Speech Project

The Digital Speech Project was founded to coordinate digital freedom activism and advocacy across the United States.


Why did I make this site?

I think that shell programming is one of the great joys of working on Unix systems in general, and on Linux in particular. Almost all Linux systems feature the Bourne Again Shell (bash) which is a very nice shell with all of the best features of previous Unix shells such as sh (the orginal Bourne shell), csh (the C shell), and ksh (the Korn shell).

Also, there seem to be a lot of resources for other Linux programming tools like Perl, Python, tcl/Tk, etc. but very few that deal with bash shell programming, so I decided that the world needed one.

More rantings by William Shotts.