Introduction to Shell Scripting in Linux

Shell scripting is a way to write programs that run on Unix/Linux systems. It's a powerful skill to have since it allows users to automate repetitive tasks, perform system administration, and do a lot of other things that they would otherwise have to do manually.

A shell script typically consists of a sequence of commands that are executed in a specific order when the script is run. The shell is the program that reads and executes the script. There are many different shells available, but the most common one used for scripting is the Bash shell (short for Bourne-Again SHell).

Creating a Simple Script

Let's start by creating a simple script that echoes "Hello, World!" to the command line. Open up your favorite text editor and type:

echo "Hello, World!"

Save the file somewhere on your computer and give it a name like The first line (#!/bin/bash) is called the shebang, and it tells the shell which interpreter to use. In this case, we're specifying the Bash shell. The second line prints out our greeting using the echo command.

By default, scripts aren't executable, so we need to change the permissions of the file to make it executable. To do that, open your terminal and run the following command:

chmod +x

This will make executable. Now we can run our script by typing:


This should print "Hello, World!" to the command line.


One of the most powerful features of shell scripting is the ability to use variables. Variables allow us to store values that can be used throughout the script. Here's an example:

echo "Hello, $name!"

In this script, we define a variable called name and assign it the value "John". We then use the variable within the string passed to the echo command using the $ character followed by the variable name.


Loops are another fundamental feature of shell scripts. They allow us to execute a sequence of commands multiple times, either a fixed number of times or until a certain condition is met. Here is an example of a loop that prints out the numbers 1 through 5:

for i in {1..5}
  echo $i

In this script, we're using a for loop to iterate through the sequence of numbers from 1 to 5. The echo command inside the loop prints out the current value of i.


Conditionals allow us to execute different parts of code depending on whether a certain condition is true or false. Here's an example:


if [ "$name" == "Alice" ]
  echo "Hello, Alice!"
  echo "You're not Alice!"

In this script, we're using an if statement to check if the value of the name variable is "Alice". If it is, we print out "Hello, Alice!". If it's not, we print out "You're not Alice!".


Shell scripting is a powerful tool that allows users to automate a wide variety of tasks on Unix/Linux systems. With just a few basic concepts, such as variables, loops, and conditionals, you can create powerful scripts that can save you a lot of time and effort. Happy scripting!

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