Bourne shell

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The Bourne shell, or sh, was the default Unix shell of Unix Version 7, and replaced the Thompson shell, whose executable file had the same name, sh. It was developed by Stephen Bourne, of AT&T Bell Laboratories, and was released in 1977 in the Version 7 Unix release distributed to colleges and universities. It remains a popular default shell for Unix accounts. The binary program of the Bourne shell or a compatible program is located at /bin/sh on most Unix systems, and is still the default shell for the root superuser on many current Unix implementations. Its command interpreter contained all the features that are commonly considered to produce structured programs. Although it is used as an interactive command interpreter, it was always intended as a scripting language. It gained popularity with the publication of The UNIX Programming Environment by Brian W. Kernighan and Rob Pike. This was the first commercially published book that presented the shell as a programming language in a tutorial form.

Contents

Origins

The shell was designed as a replacement for the original Thompson shell.

Among the primary goals were:

In March 2009 Computerworld published an in-depth interview with Steve Bourne The A-Z of Programming Languages: Bourne shell, or sh which details the Bourne Shell origins and design decisions.

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