Bash 101: History of Bash and Terminal

This article serves to introduce Bash for our “Learning Bash” series.

A very powerful tool included with every Mac computer, Terminal is a command line interface that can be accessed using the terminal application at Applications/Terminal.app. The terminal originated in the predecessors of Mac OS X, called NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP. When you open terminal it automatically prompts you with a bash shell. Bash is a unix based shell created by a programmer named Brian Fox while he worked for the Free Software Foundation.

Bash is an acronym for Bourne-again shell. It is a reference to its initial purpose, to serve as a free open-source version of the Bourne Shell. However, bash has grown into its own shell, and is currently the default shell for most Linux kernels, Mac OS X, and Darwin. Additionally, it is possible to have a bash shell on Windows by using a program such as Cygwin and MSYS. Bash combines and improves the functionality of the Bourne shell, Korn Shell, and C shell.

While Bash is not perfect, it is still a very important and powerful tool for all, at least all Mac, users to understand. Using bash and terminal you can greatly improve the functions your computer can perform. You can trace network connections, perform searches, change preferences on your system, perform backups and many other varied and useful functions. While it takes a long time and lots of practice to become an expert at using and navigating a command line interface, every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Read part two here: Bash 101: Hello World (and a little further)

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