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SH(1)                   FreeBSD General Commands Manual                  SH(1)

     sh - command interpreter (shell)

     sh [-/+abCEefIimnpsuVvx] [-/+o longname] [-c string] [arg ...]

     Sh is the standard command interpreter for the system.  The current
     version of sh is in the process of being changed to conform with the IEEE
     Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'') specification for the shell.  This version has
     many features which make it appear similar in some respects to the Korn
     shell, but it is not a Korn shell clone (run GNU's bash if you want
     that).  Only features designated by POSIX, plus a few Berkeley
     extensions, are being incorporated into this shell.  This man page is not
     intended to be a tutorial or a complete specification of the shell.

     The shell is a command that reads lines from either a file or the
     terminal, interprets them, and generally executes other commands. It is
     the program that is running when a user logs into the system (although a
     user can select a different shell with the chsh(1) command).  The shell
     implements a language that has flow control constructs, a macro facility
     that provides a variety of features in addition to data storage, along
     with built in history and line editing capabilities.  It incorporates
     many features to aid interactive use and has the advantage that the
     interpretative language is common to both interactive and non-interactive
     use (shell scripts).  That is, commands can be typed directly to the
     running shell or can be put into a file and the file can be executed
     directly by the shell.

     If no args are present and if the standard input of the shell is
     connected to a terminal (or if the -i flag is set), the shell is
     considered an interactive shell.  An interactive shell generally prompts
     before each command and handles programming and command errors
     differently (as described below).  When first starting, the shell
     inspects argument 0, and if it begins with a dash '-', the shell is also
     considered a login shell.  This is normally done automatically by the
     system when the user first logs in.  A login shell first reads commands
     from the files /etc/profile and .profile if they exist.  If the
     environment variable ENV is set on entry to a shell, or is set in the
     .profile of a login shell, the shell next reads commands from the file
     named in ENV.  Therefore, a user should place commands that are to be
     executed only at login time in the .profile file, and commands that are
     executed for every shell inside the ENV file. To set the ENV variable to
     some file, place the following line in your .profile of your home

           ENV=$HOME/.shinit; export ENV

     substituting for .shinit any filename you wish.  If commandline arguments
     besides the options have been specified, then the shell treats the first
     argument as the name of a file from which to read commands (a shell
     script), and the remaining arguments are set as the positional parameters
     of the shell ($1, $2, etc).  Otherwise, the shell reads commands from its
     standard input.

     Unlike older versions of sh the ENV script is only sourced on invocation
     of interactive shells.  This closes a well-known, and sometimes easily
     exploitable security hole related to poorly thought out ENV scripts.

   Argument List Processing
     All of the single letter options to sh have a corresponding name that can
     be used as an argument to the set(1) builtin (described later).  These
     names are provided next to the single letter option in the descriptions
     below.  Specifying a dash ``-'' enables the option, while using a plus
     ``+'' disables the option.  A ``--'' or plain ``-'' will stop option
     processing and will force the remaining words on the command line to be
     treated as arguments.

     -a allexport
             Export all variables assigned to.  (UNIMPLEMENTED)

     -b notify
             Enable asynchronous notification of background job completion.

     -C noclobber
             Don't overwrite existing files with ``>.'' (UNIMPLEMENTED)

     -E emacs
             Enable the built-in emacs(1) commandline editor (disables -V if
             it has been set).

     -e errexit
             If not interactive, exit immediately if any untested command
             fails.  The exit status of a command is considered to be
             explicitly tested if the command is used to control an if, elif,
             while, or until; or if the command is the left hand operand of an
             ``&&'' or ``||'' operator.

     -f noglob
             Disable pathname expansion.

     -I ignoreeof
             Ignore EOF's from input when interactive.

     -i interactive
             Force the shell to behave interactively.

     -m monitor
             Turn on job control (set automatically when interactive).

     -n noexec
             If not interactive, read commands but do not execute them.  This
             is useful for checking the syntax of shell scripts.

     -p privileged
             Turn on privileged mode.  This mode is enabled on startup if
             either the effective user or group id is not equal to the real
             user or group id.  Turning this mode off sets the effective user
             and group ids to the real user and group ids.  Also on
             interactive shells and when enabled, this mode sources
             /etc/suid_profile (instead of ~/.profile) after /etc/profile and
             ignores the contents of the ENV variable.

     -s stdin
             Read commands from standard input (set automatically if no file
             arguments are present).  This option has no effect when set after
             the shell has already started running (i.e. with set(1)).

     -u nounset
             Write a message to standard error when attempting to expand a
             variable that is not set, and if the shell is not interactive,
             exit immediately.  (UNIMPLEMENTED)

     -V vi   Enable the built-in vi(1) commandline editor (disables -E if it
             has been set).

     -v verbose
             The shell writes its input to standard error as it is read.
             Useful for debugging.

     -x xtrace
             Write each command to standard error (preceded by a '+ ') before
             it is executed.  Useful for debugging.

     -c string
             Pass the string argument to the shell to be interpreted as input.
             Keep in mind that this option only accepts a single string as its
             argument, hence multi-word strings must be quoted.

   Lexical Structure
     The shell reads input in terms of lines from a file and breaks it up into
     words at whitespace (blanks and tabs), and at certain sequences of
     characters that are special to the shell called ``operators''.  There are
     two types of operators: control operators and redirection operators
     (their meaning is discussed later).  The following is a list of valid

     Control operators:
             &  &&  (  )  ;  ;; | || \n

     Redirection operators:
             <  >  >|  <<  >>  <&  >&  <<-  <>

     Quoting is used to remove the special meaning of certain characters or
     words to the shell, such as operators, whitespace, or keywords.  There
     are three types of quoting: matched single quotes, matched double quotes,
     and backslash.

     Single Quotes
             Enclosing characters in single quotes preserves the literal
             meaning of all the characters (except single quotes, making it
             impossible to put single-quotes in a single-quoted string).

     Double Quotes
             Enclosing characters within double quotes preserves the literal
             meaning of all characters except dollarsign ($), backquote (`),
             and backslash (\).  The backslash inside double quotes is
             historically weird, and serves to quote only the following
             characters: $  `  "  \ \n.  Otherwise it remains literal.

             A backslash preserves the literal meaning of the following
             character, with the exception of \n. A backslash preceding a \n
             is treated as a line continuation.

   Reserved Words
     Reserved words are words that have special meaning to the shell and are
     recognized at the beginning of a line and after a control operator.  The
     following are reserved words:

           !       {       }       case    do
           done    elif    else    esac    fi
           for     if      then    until   while

     An alias is a name and corresponding value set using the alias(1) builtin
     command.  Whenever a reserved word may occur (see above), and after
     checking for reserved words, the shell checks the word to see if it
     matches an alias. If it does, it replaces it in the input stream with its
     value.  For example, if there is an alias called ``lf'' with the value
     ``ls -F'', then the input

           lf foobar <return>

     would become

           ls -F foobar <return>

     Aliases provide a convenient way for naive users to create shorthands for
     commands without having to learn how to create functions with arguments.
     They can also be used to create lexically obscure code.  This use is

     The shell interprets the words it reads according to a language, the
     specification of which is outside the scope of this man page (refer to
     the BNF in the IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'') document).  Essentially
     though, a line is read and if the first word of the line (or after a
     control operator) is not a reserved word, then the shell has recognized a
     simple command.  Otherwise, a complex command or some other special
     construct may have been recognized.

   Simple Commands
     If a simple command has been recognized, the shell performs the following

     1.   Leading words of the form ``name=value'' are stripped off and
          assigned to the environment of the simple command.  Redirection
          operators and their arguments (as described below) are stripped off
          and saved for processing.

     2.   The remaining words are expanded as described in the section called
          ``Expansions'', and the first remaining word is considered the
          command name and the command is located.  The remaining words are
          considered the arguments of the command.  If no command name
          resulted, then the ``name=value'' variable assignments recognized in
          1) affect the current shell.

     3.   Redirections are performed as described in the next section.

     Redirections are used to change where a command reads its input or sends
     its output.  In general, redirections open, close, or duplicate an
     existing reference to a file.  The overall format used for redirection

           [n] redir-op file

     where redir-op is one of the redirection operators mentioned previously.
     The following gives some examples of how these operators can be used.
     NOTE: stdin and stdout are commonly used abbreviations for standard input
     and standard output, respectively.

           [n]> file   redirect stdout (or n) to file

           [n]>| file  same as above, but override the -C option

           [n]>> file  append stdout (or n) to file

           [n]< file   redirect stdin (or n) from file

           [n1]<&n2    duplicate stdin (or n1) from file descriptor n2

           [n]<&-      close stdin (or n)

           [n1]>&n2    duplicate stdout (or n1) to n2.

           [n]>&-      close stdout (or n)

           [n]<> file  open file for reading and writing on stdin (or n)

     The following redirection is often called a ``here-document''.

           [n]<< delimiter

     All the text on successive lines up to the delimiter is saved away and
     made available to the command on standard input, or file descriptor n if
     it is specified.  If the delimiter as specified on the initial line is
     quoted, then the here-doc-text is treated literally, otherwise the text
     is subjected to parameter expansion, command substitution, and arithmetic
     expansion (as described in the section on ``Expansions'').  If the
     operator is ``<<-'' instead of ``<<'', then leading tabs in the here-doc-
     text are stripped.

   Search and Execution
     There are three types of commands: shell functions, builtin commands, and
     normal programs -- and the command is searched for (by name) in that
     order.  They each are executed in a different way.

     When a shell function is executed, all of the shell positional parameters
     (except $0, which remains unchanged) are set to the arguments of the
     shell function.  The variables which are explicitly placed in the
     environment of the command (by placing assignments to them before the
     function name) are made local to the function and are set to the values
     given. Then the command given in the function definition is executed.
     The positional parameters are restored to their original values when the
     command completes.  This all occurs within the current shell.

     Shell builtins are executed internally to the shell, without spawning a
     new process.

     Otherwise, if the command name doesn't match a function or builtin, the
     command is searched for as a normal program in the filesystem (as
     described in the next section).  When a normal program is executed, the
     shell runs the program, passing the arguments and the environment to the
     program. If the program is not a normal executable file (i.e., if it does
     not begin with the "magic number" whose ASCII representation is "#!", so
     execve() returns ENOEXEC then) the shell will interpret the program in a
     subshell.  The child shell will reinitialize itself in this case, so that
     the effect will be as if a new shell had been invoked to handle the ad-
     hoc shell script, except that the location of hashed commands located in
     the parent shell will be remembered by the child.

     Note that previous versions of this document and the source code itself
     misleadingly and sporadically refer to a shell script without a magic
     number as a "shell procedure".

   Path Search
     When locating a command, the shell first looks to see if it has a shell
     function by that name.  Then it looks for a builtin command by that name.
     If a builtin command is not found, one of two things happen:

     1.   Command names containing a slash are simply executed without
          performing any searches.

     2.   The shell searches each entry in PATH in turn for the command.  The
          value of the PATH variable should be a series of entries separated
          by colons.  Each entry consists of a directory name.  The current
          directory may be indicated implicitly by an empty directory name, or
          explicitly by a single period.

   Command Exit Status
     Each command has an exit status that can influence the behavior of other
     shell commands.  The paradigm is that a command exits with zero for
     normal or success, and non-zero for failure, error, or a false
     indication.  The man page for each command should indicate the various
     exit codes and what they mean.  Additionally, the builtin commands return
     exit codes, as does an executed shell function.

     If a command is terminated by a signal, its exit status is 128 plus the
     signal number.  Signal numbers are defined in the header file

   Complex Commands
     Complex commands are combinations of simple commands with control
     operators or reserved words, together creating a larger complex command.
     More generally, a command is one of the following:

           simple command


           list or compound-list

           compound command

           function definition

     Unless otherwise stated, the exit status of a command is that of the last
     simple command executed by the command.

     A pipeline is a sequence of one or more commands separated by the control
     operator |.  The standard output of all but the last command is connected
     to the standard input of the next command.  The standard output of the
     last command is inherited from the shell, as usual.

     The format for a pipeline is:

           [!] command1 [ | command2 ...]

     The standard output of command1 is connected to the standard input of
     command2.  The standard input, standard output, or both of a command is
     considered to be assigned by the pipeline before any redirection
     specified by redirection operators that are part of the command.

     If the pipeline is not in the background (discussed later), the shell
     waits for all commands to complete.

     If the reserved word ! does not precede the pipeline, the exit status is
     the exit status of the last command specified in the pipeline.
     Otherwise, the exit status is the logical NOT of the exit status of the
     last command.  That is, if the last command returns zero, the exit status
     is 1; if the last command returns greater than zero, the exit status is

     Because pipeline assignment of standard input or standard output or both
     takes place before redirection, it can be modified by redirection.  For

           $ command1 2>&1 | command2

     sends both the standard output and standard error of command1 to the
     standard input of command2.

     A ; or <newline> terminator causes the preceding AND-OR-list (described
     next) to be executed sequentially; a & causes asynchronous execution of
     the preceding AND-OR-list.

     Note that unlike some other shells, each process in the pipeline is a
     child of the invoking shell (unless it is a shell builtin, in which case
     it executes in the current shell -- but any effect it has on the
     environment is wiped).

   Background Commands -- &
     If a command is terminated by the control operator ampersand (&), the
     shell executes the command asynchronously -- that is, the shell does not
     wait for the command to finish before executing the next command.

     The format for running a command in background is:

           command1 & [command2 & ...]

     If the shell is not interactive, the standard input of an asynchronous
     command is set to /dev/null.

   Lists -- Generally Speaking
     A list is a sequence of zero or more commands separated by newlines,
     semicolons, or ampersands, and optionally terminated by one of these
     three characters.  The commands in a list are executed in the order they
     are written.  If command is followed by an ampersand, the shell starts
     the command and immediately proceed onto the next command; otherwise it
     waits for the command to terminate before proceeding to the next one.

   Short-Circuit List Operators
     ``&&'' and ``||'' are AND-OR list operators.  ``&&'' executes the first
     command, and then executes the second command iff the exit status of the
     first command is zero.  ``||'' is similar, but executes the second
     command iff the exit status of the first command is nonzero.  ``&&'' and
     ``||'' both have the same priority.

   Flow-Control Constructs -- if, while, for, case
     The syntax of the if command is

           if list
           then list
           [ elif list
           then    list ] ...
           [ else list ]

     The syntax of the while command is

           while list
           do   list

     The two lists are executed repeatedly while the exit status of the first
     list is zero.  The until command is similar, but has the word until in
     place of while, which causes it to repeat until the exit status of the
     first list is zero.

     The syntax of the for command is

           for variable in word...
           do   list

     The words are expanded, and then the list is executed repeatedly with the
     variable set to each word in turn.  do and done may be replaced with
     ``{'' and ``}''.

     The syntax of the break and continue command is

           break [ num ]
           continue [ num ]

     Break terminates the num innermost for or while loops.  Continue
     continues with the next iteration of the innermost loop.  These are
     implemented as builtin commands.

     The syntax of the case command is

           case word in
           pattern) list ;;

     The pattern can actually be one or more patterns (see Shell Patterns
     described later), separated by ``|'' characters.

   Grouping Commands Together
     Commands may be grouped by writing either



           { list; }

     The first of these executes the commands in a subshell.  Builtin commands
     grouped into a (list) will not affect the current shell.  The second form
     does not fork another shell so is slightly more efficient.  Grouping
     commands together this way allows you to redirect their output as though
     they were one program:

           { echo -n "hello"; echo " world"; } > greeting

     The syntax of a function definition is

           name ( ) command

     A function definition is an executable statement; when executed it
     installs a function named name and returns an exit status of zero.  The
     command is normally a list enclosed between ``{'' and ``}''.

     Variables may be declared to be local to a function by using a local
     command.  This should appear as the first statement of a function, and
     the syntax is

           local [ variable | - ] ...

     Local is implemented as a builtin command.

     When a variable is made local, it inherits the initial value and exported
     and readonly flags from the variable with the same name in the
     surrounding scope, if there is one.  Otherwise, the variable is initially
     unset.  The shell uses dynamic scoping, so that if you make the variable
     x local to function f, which then calls function g, references to the
     variable x made inside g will refer to the variable x declared inside f,
     not to the global variable named x.

     The only special parameter than can be made local is ``-''.  Making ``-''
     local any shell options that are changed via the set command inside the
     function to be restored to their original values when the function

     The syntax of the return command is

           return [ exitstatus ]

     It terminates the currently executing function.  Return is implemented as
     a builtin command.

   Variables and Parameters
     The shell maintains a set of parameters.  A parameter denoted by a name
     is called a variable.  When starting up, the shell turns all the
     environment variables into shell variables.  New variables can be set
     using the form


     Variables set by the user must have a name consisting solely of
     alphabetics, numerics, and underscores - the first of which must not be
     numeric.  A parameter can also be denoted by a number or a special
     character as explained below.

   Positional Parameters
     A positional parameter is a parameter denoted by a number (n > 0).  The
     shell sets these initially to the values of its commandline arguments
     that follow the name of the shell script.  The set(1) builtin can also be
     used to set or reset them.

   Special Parameters
     A special parameter is a parameter denoted by one of the following
     special characters.  The value of the parameter is listed next to its

     *       Expands to the positional parameters, starting from one.  When
             the expansion occurs within a double-quoted string it expands to
             a single field with the value of each parameter separated by the
             first character of the IFS variable, or by a <space> if IFS is

     @       Expands to the positional parameters, starting from one.  When
             the expansion occurs within double-quotes, each positional
             parameter expands as a separate argument.  If there are no
             positional parameters, the expansion of @ generates zero
             arguments, even when @ is double-quoted.  What this basically
             means, for example, is if $1 is ``abc'' and $2 is ``def ghi'',
             then "$@" expands to the two arguments:

                   "abc"   "def ghi"

     #       Expands to the number of positional parameters.

     ?       Expands to the exit status of the most recent pipeline.

     -       (hyphen) Expands to the current option flags (the single-letter
             option names concatenated into a string) as specified on
             invocation, by the set builtin command, or implicitly by the

     $       Expands to the process ID of the invoked shell.  A subshell
             retains the same value of $ as its parent.

     !       Expands to the process ID of the most recent background command
             executed from the current shell.  For a pipeline, the process ID
             is that of the last command in the pipeline.

     0       (zero) Expands to the name of the shell or shell script.

   Word Expansions
     This clause describes the various expansions that are performed on words.
     Not all expansions are performed on every word, as explained later.

     Tilde expansions, parameter expansions, command substitutions, arithmetic
     expansions, and quote removals that occur within a single word expand to
     a single field.  It is only field splitting or pathname expansion that
     can create multiple fields from a single word. The single exception to
     this rule is the expansion of the special parameter @ within double-
     quotes, as was described above.

     The order of word expansion is:

     1.   Tilde Expansion, Parameter Expansion, Command Substitution,
          Arithmetic Expansion (these all occur at the same time).

     2.   Field Splitting is performed on fields generated by step (1) unless
          the IFS variable is null.

     3.   Pathname Expansion (unless set -f is in effect).

     4.   Quote Removal.

     The $ character is used to introduce parameter expansion, command
     substitution, or arithmetic evaluation.

   Tilde Expansion (substituting a user's home directory)
     A word beginning with an unquoted tilde character (~) is subjected to
     tilde expansion.  All the characters up to a slash (/) or the end of the
     word are treated as a username and are replaced with the user's home
     directory.  If the username is missing (as in ~/foobar), the tilde is
     replaced with the value of the HOME variable (the current user's home

   Parameter Expansion
     The format for parameter expansion is as follows:


     where expression consists of all characters until the matching }.  Any }
     escaped by a backslash or within a quoted string, and characters in
     embedded arithmetic expansions, command substitutions, and variable
     expansions, are not examined in determining the matching }.

     The simplest form for parameter expansion is:


     The value, if any, of parameter is substituted.

     The parameter name or symbol can be enclosed in braces, which are
     optional except for positional parameters with more than one digit or
     when parameter is followed by a character that could be interpreted as
     part of the name.  If a parameter expansion occurs inside double-quotes:

     1.   Pathname expansion is not performed on the results of the expansion.

     2.   Field splitting is not performed on the results of the expansion,
          with the exception of @.

     In addition, a parameter expansion can be modified by using one of the
     following formats.

             Use Default Values.  If parameter is unset or null, the expansion
             of word is substituted; otherwise, the value of parameter is

             Assign Default Values.  If parameter is unset or null, the
             expansion of word is assigned to parameter.  In all cases, the
             final value of parameter is substituted.  Only variables, not
             positional parameters or special parameters, can be assigned in
             this way.

             Indicate Error if Null or Unset.  If parameter is unset or null,
             the expansion of word (or a message indicating it is unset if
             word is omitted) is written to standard error and the shell exits
             with a nonzero exit status. Otherwise, the value of parameter is
             substituted.  An interactive shell need not exit.

             Use Alternate Value.  If parameter is unset or null, null is
             substituted; otherwise, the expansion of word is substituted.

             In the parameter expansions shown previously, use of the colon in
             the format results in a test for a parameter that is unset or
             null; omission of the colon results in a test for a parameter
             that is only unset.

             String Length.  The length in characters of the value of

             The following four varieties of parameter expansion provide for
             substring processing.  In each case, pattern matching notation
             (see Shell Patterns), rather than regular expression notation, is
             used to evaluate the patterns.  If parameter is * or @, the
             result of the expansion is unspecified.  Enclosing the full
             parameter expansion string in double-quotes does not cause the
             following four varieties of pattern characters to be quoted,
             whereas quoting characters within the braces has this effect.

             Remove Smallest Suffix Pattern.  The word is expanded to produce
             a pattern.  The parameter expansion then results in parameter,
             with the smallest portion of the suffix matched by the pattern

             Remove Largest Suffix Pattern.  The word is expanded to produce a
             pattern.  The parameter expansion then results in parameter, with
             the largest portion of the suffix matched by the pattern deleted.

             Remove Smallest Prefix Pattern.  The word is expanded to produce
             a pattern.  The parameter expansion then results in parameter,
             with the smallest portion of the prefix matched by the pattern

             Remove Largest Prefix Pattern.  The word is expanded to produce a
             pattern.  The parameter expansion then results in parameter, with
             the largest portion of the prefix matched by the pattern deleted.

   Command Substitution
     Command substitution allows the output of a command to be substituted in
     place of the command name itself.  Command substitution occurs when the
     command is enclosed as follows:


     or (``backquoted'' version):


     The shell expands the command substitution by executing command in a
     subshell environment and replacing the command substitution with the
     standard output of the command, removing sequences of one or more
     <newline>s at the end of the substitution.  (Embedded <newline>s before
     the end of the output are not removed; however, during field splitting,
     they may be translated into <space>s, depending on the value of IFS and
     quoting that is in effect.)

   Arithmetic Expansion
     Arithmetic expansion provides a mechanism for evaluating an arithmetic
     expression and substituting its value. The format for arithmetic
     expansion is as follows:


     The expression is treated as if it were in double-quotes, except that a
     double-quote inside the expression is not treated specially.  The shell
     expands all tokens in the expression for parameter expansion, command
     substitution, and quote removal.

     Next, the shell treats this as an arithmetic expression and substitutes
     the value of the expression.

   White Space Splitting (Field Splitting)
     After parameter expansion, command substitution, and arithmetic expansion
     the shell scans the results of expansions and substitutions that did not
     occur in double-quotes for field splitting and multiple fields can

     The shell treats each character of the IFS as a delimiter and use the
     delimiters to split the results of parameter expansion and command
     substitution into fields.

   Pathname Expansion (File Name Generation)
     Unless the -f flag is set, file name generation is performed after word
     splitting is complete.  Each word is viewed as a series of patterns,
     separated by slashes.  The process of expansion replaces the word with
     the names of all existing files whose names can be formed by replacing
     each pattern with a string that matches the specified pattern.  There are
     two restrictions on this: first, a pattern cannot match a string
     containing a slash, and second, a pattern cannot match a string starting
     with a period unless the first character of the pattern is a period.  The
     next section describes the patterns used for both Pathname Expansion and
     the case(1) command.

   Shell Patterns
     A pattern consists of normal characters, which match themselves, and
     meta-characters.   The meta-characters are ``!'', ``*'', ``?'', and
     ``[''.  These characters lose their special meanings if they are quoted.
     When command or variable substitution is performed and the dollar sign or
     back quotes are not double quoted, the value of the variable or the
     output of the command is scanned for these characters and they are turned
     into meta-characters.

     An asterisk (``*'') matches any string of characters.  A question mark
     matches any single character. A left bracket (``['') introduces a
     character class.  The end of the character class is indicated by a ``]'';
     if the ``]'' is missing then the ``['' matches a ``['' rather than
     introducing a character class.  A character class matches any of the
     characters between the square brackets.  A range of characters may be
     specified using a minus sign.  The character class may be complemented by
     making an exclamation point the first character of the character class.

     To include a ``]'' in a character class, make it the first character
     listed (after the ``!'', if any).  To include a minus sign, make it the
     first or last character listed.

     This section lists the builtin commands which are builtin because they
     need to perform some operation that can't be performed by a separate
     process.  In addition to these, there are several other commands that may
     be builtin for efficiency (e.g.  printf(1), echo(1), test(1), etc).

     :       A null command that returns a 0 (true) exit value.

     . file  The commands in the specified file are read and executed by the
             shell.  If file contains any `/' characters, it is used as is.
             Otherwise, the shell searches the PATH for the file.  If it is
             not found in the PATH, it is sought in the current working

     alias [name[=string] ...]
             If name=string is specified, the shell defines the alias ``name''
             with value ``string''.  If just ``name'' is specified, the value
             of the alias ``name'' is printed.  With no arguments, the alias
             builtin prints the names and values of all defined aliases (see

     bg [job] ...
             Continue the specified jobs (or the current job if no jobs are
             given) in the background.

     command command arg ...
             Execute the specified builtin command.  (This is useful when you
             have a shell function with the same name as a builtin command.)

     cd [directory]
             Switch to the specified directory (default $HOME).  If an entry
             for CDPATH appears in the environment of the cd command or the
             shell variable CDPATH is set and the directory name does not
             begin with a slash, then the directories listed in CDPATH will be
             searched for the specified directory.  The format of CDPATH is
             the same as that of PATH. In an interactive shell, the cd command
             will print out the name of the directory that it actually
             switched to if this is different from the name that the user
             gave.  These may be different either because the CDPATH mechanism
             was used or because a symbolic link was crossed.

     eval string ...
             Concatenate all the arguments with spaces.  Then re-parse and
             execute the command.

     exec [command arg ...]
             Unless command is omitted, the shell process is replaced with the
             specified program (which must be a real program, not a shell
             builtin or function).  Any redirections on the exec command are
             marked as permanent, so that they are not undone when the exec
             command finishes.

     exit [exitstatus]
             Terminate the shell process.  If exitstatus is given it is used
             as the exit status of the shell; otherwise the exit status of the
             preceding command is used.

     export name ...
             The specified names are exported so that they will appear in the
             environment of subsequent commands.  The only way to un-export a
             variable is to unset it.  The shell allows the value of a
             variable to be set at the same time it is exported by writing

                   export name=value

             With no arguments the export command lists the names of all
             exported variables.

     fc [-e editor] [first [last]]

     fc -l [-nr] [first [last]]

     fc -s [old=new] [first]
             The fc builtin lists, or edits and re-executes, commands
             previously entered to an interactive shell.

             -e editor
                     Use the editor named by editor to edit the commands.  The
                     editor string is a command name, subject to search via
                     the PATH variable.  The value in the FCEDIT variable is
                     used as a default when -e is not specified.  If FCEDIT is
                     null or unset, the value of the EDITOR variable is used.
                     If EDITOR is null or unset, ed(1) is used as the editor.

             -l (ell)
                     List the commands rather than invoking an editor on them.
                     The commands are written in the sequence indicated by the
                     first and last operands, as affected by -r, with each
                     command preceded by the command number.

             -n      Suppress command numbers when listing with -l.

             -r      Reverse the order of the commands listed (with -l) or
                     edited (with neither -l nor -s).

             -s      Re-execute the command without invoking an editor.


             last    Select the commands to list or edit.  The number of
                     previous commands that can be accessed are determined by
                     the value of the HISTSIZE variable.  The value of first
                     or last or both are one of the following:

                     A positive number representing a command number; command
                     numbers can be displayed with the -l option.

                     A negative decimal number representing the command that
                     was executed number of commands previously.  For example,
                     -1 is the immediately previous command.

             string  A string indicating the most recently entered command
                     that begins with that string.  If the old=new operand is
                     not also specified with -s, the string form of the first
                     operand cannot contain an embedded equal sign.
             The following environment variables affect the execution of fc:

             FCEDIT  Name of the editor to use.

                     The number of previous commands that are accessible.

     fg [job]
             Move the specified job or the current job to the foreground.

     getopts optstring var
             The POSIX getopts command.  The getopts command deprecates the
             older getopt command.  The first argument should be a series of
             letters, each possibly followed by a colon which indicates that
             the option takes an argument.  The specified variable is set to
             the parsed option.  The index of the next argument is placed into
             the shell variable OPTIND.  If an option takes an argument, it is
             placed into the shell variable OPTARG.  If an invalid option is
             encountered, var is set to '?'.  It returns a false value (1)
             when it encounters the end of the options.

     hash -rv command ...
             The shell maintains a hash table which remembers the locations of
             commands.  With no arguments whatsoever, the hash command prints
             out the contents of this table.  Entries which have not been
             looked at since the last cd command are marked with an asterisk;
             it is possible for these entries to be invalid.

             With arguments, the hash command removes the specified commands
             from the hash table (unless they are functions) and then locates
             them.   With the -v option, hash prints the locations of the
             commands as it finds them.  The -r option causes the hash command
             to delete all the entries in the hash table except for functions.

     jobid [job]
             Print the process id's of the processes in the job.  If the job
             argument is omitted, use the current job.

     jobs    This command lists out all the background processes which are
             children of the current shell process.

     pwd     Print the current directory.  The builtin command may differ from
             the program of the same name because the builtin command
             remembers what the current directory is rather than recomputing
             it each time.  This makes it faster.  However, if the current
             directory is renamed, the builtin version of pwd will continue to
             print the old name for the directory.

     read [ -p prompt ] [ -t timeout ] [ -e ] variable ...
             The prompt is printed if the -p option is specified and the
             standard input is a terminal.  Then a line is read from the
             standard input.  The trailing newline is deleted from the line
             and the line is split as described in the section on word
             splitting above, and the pieces are assigned to the variables in
             order.  If there are more pieces than variables, the remaining
             pieces (along with the characters in IFS that separated them) are
             assigned to the last variable.  If there are more variables than
             pieces, the remaining variables are assigned the null string.

             If the -t option is specified the timeout elapses before any
             input is supplied, the read command will return without assigning
             any values.  The timeout value may optionally be followed by one
             of 's', 'm' or 'h' to explicitly specify seconds, minutes or or
             hours.  If none is supplied, 's' is assumed.

             The -e option causes any backslashes in the input to be treated
             specially.  If a backslash is followed by a newline, the
             backslash and the newline will be deleted.   If a backslash is
             followed by any other character, the backslash will be deleted
             and the following character will be treated as though it were not
             in IFS, even if it is.

     readonly name ...
             The specified names are marked as read only, so that they cannot
             be subsequently modified or unset.  The shell allows the value of
             a variable to be set at the same time it is marked read only by
             writing using the following form

                   readonly name=value

             With no arguments the readonly command lists the names of all
             read only variables.

     set [ { -options | +options | -- } ] arg ...
             The set command performs three different functions.

             With no arguments, it lists the values of all shell variables.

             If options are given, it sets the specified option flags, or
             clears them as described in the section called ``Argument List

             The third use of the set command is to set the values of the
             shell's positional parameters to the specified args.  To change
             the positional parameters without changing any options, use
             ``--'' as the first argument to set.  If no args are present, the
             set command will clear all the positional parameters (equivalent
             to executing ``shift $#''.

     setvar variable value
             Assigns value to variable. (In general it is better to write
             variable=value rather than using setvar.  Setvar is intended to
             be used in functions that assign values to variables whose names
             are passed as parameters.)

     shift [n]
             Shift the positional parameters n times.  A shift sets the value
             of $1 to the value of $2, the value of $2 to the value of $3, and
             so on, decreasing the value of $# by one.  If there are zero
             positional parameters, shifting doesn't do anything.

     trap [action] signal ...
             Cause the shell to parse and execute action when any of the
             specified signals are received.  The signals are specified by
             signal number.  Action may be null or omitted; the former causes
             the specified signal to be ignored and the latter causes the
             default action to be taken.  When the shell forks off a subshell,
             it resets trapped (but not ignored) signals to the default
             action.  The trap command has no effect on signals that were
             ignored on entry to the shell.

     type [name] ...
             Interpret each name as a command and print the resolution of the
             command search. Possible resolutions are: shell keyword, alias,
             shell builtin, command, tracked alias and not found.  For aliases
             the alias expansion is printed; for commands and tracked aliases
             the complete pathname of the command is printed.

     ulimit [-HSacdflmnust] [limit]
             Set or display resource limits (see getrlimit(2) ). If ``limit''
             is specified, the named resource will be set; otherwise the
             current resource value will be displayed.

             If ``-H'' is specified, the hard limits will be set or displayed.
             While everybody is allowed to reduce a hard limit, only the
             superuser can increase it.  Option ``-S'' specifies the soft
             limits instead.  When displaying limits, only one of ``-S'' or
             ``-H'' can be given.  The default is to display the soft limits,
             and to set both, the hard and the soft limits.

             Option ``-a'' requests to display all resources.  The parameter
             ``limit'' is not acceptable in this mode.

             The remaining options specify which resource value is to be
             displayed or modified.  They are mutually exclusive.

             -c coredumpsize
                     The maximal size of core dump files, in 512-byte blocks.

             -d datasize
                     The maximal size of the data segment of a process, in

             -f filesize
                     The maximal size of a file, in 512-byte blocks.  This is
                     the default.

             -l lockedmem
                     The maximal size of memory that can be locked by a
                     process, in kilobytes.

             -m memoryuse
                     The maximal resident set size of a process, in kilobytes.

             -n nofiles
                     The maximal number of descriptors that could be opened by
                     a process.

             -s stacksize
                     The maximal size of the stack segment, in kilobytes.

             -t time
                     The maximal amount of CPU time to be used by each
                     process, in seconds.

             -u userproc
                     The maximal number of simultaneous processes for this
                     user ID.

     umask [mask]
             Set the value of umask (see umask(2)) to the specified octal
             value. If the argument is omitted, the umask value is printed.

     unalias [-a] [name]
             If ``name'' is specified, the shell removes that alias.  If
             ``-a'' is specified, all aliases are removed.

     unset name ...
             The specified variables and functions are unset and unexported.
             If a given name corresponds to both a variable and a function,
             both the variable and the function are unset.

     wait [job]
             Wait for the specified job to complete and return the exit status
             of the last process in the job. If the argument is omitted, wait
             for all jobs to complete and the return an exit status of zero.

   Commandline Editing
     When sh is being used interactively from a terminal, the current command
     and the command history (see fc in Builtins) can be edited using vi-mode
     commandline editing.  This mode uses commands similar to a subset of
     those described in the vi man page.  The command 'set -o vi' enables vi-
     mode editing and places sh into vi insert mode.  With vi-mode enabled, sh
     can be switched between insert mode and command mode by typing <ESC>.
     Hitting <return> while in command mode will pass the line to the shell.

     Similarly, the 'set -o emacs' command can be used to enable a subset of
     emacs-style commandline editing features.

     expr(1), test(1)

     A sh command appeared in AT&T System V Release 1 UNIX.

BSD 4                             May 5, 1995                            BSD 4


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