shells (was Re: UNIX V7)

Eric Smith eric at
Thu Jun 11 23:35:21 CDT 2009

Zane H. Healy wrote:
> Not to start a shell war, but because I'm curious, what is the shell?
What I normally choose is bash, but I try to write scripts that will 
work with just about any sh.

Back when I was using BSD on VAXen from 1983-1986 or so, everyone around 
me thought csh was the greatest thing since sliced bread (though I don't 
personally think that sliced bread is such a great invention).  Every 
time they had to edit a shell script they had trouble because they had 
wired their brains for csh.  I didn't want to learn two incompatible 
shell syntaxes, especially since at that time csh didn't support some of 
the sh features I tended to use a lot, such as some of the less common 
I/O redirections.  (I assume that csh has gained support for those since 

I used ksh starting around 1987.  Sometime around 1989 or 1990 I 
switched to bash.

People have tried to convince me that I'd be happier with zsh, and I'll 
admit that it has some cool features, but nothing sufficient to lure me 
away from bash.

I've used csh enough that I can live with it if I'm forced to do so.  
Several companies I've worked for have set csh as the default shell and 
made it difficult to change, apparently thinking that this will somehow 
reduce the workload of their IT support staff.


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