Types Of Shells

Types of Shells

Various Types of Linux Shells and Why they are important?

We may execute our commands, applications, and shell scripts in a shell environment. Similar to how there are several operating systems, there are various shells. Every kind of shell has its own set of frequently used features and commands. Although the various Types of Shells can provide a variety of features, at their heart, they are just implementing concepts that were created decades ago.

To help you determine whether learning Linux would be advantageous for you, we’ll start by providing a brief overview of the development of contemporary shells. After that, we’ll look at some of the interesting open-source shells that are now offered for Linux. Learn Shell Scripts comprehensively in our Linux Training Institute in Chennai.

Evolution of Shells


It was time for the Bourne shell. Stephen Bourne developed the Bourne shell(sh) for UNIX V7 at AT&T Bell Labs, and it is still a useful shell today (in some cases, as the default root shell). The syntax of the Bourne shell is more similar to that of Algorithmic Language (ALGOL) than other shells since it was created after working on an ALGOL68 compiler. C was used to construct the source code.

The Bourne shell has two main purposes:

  • Using the operating system’s command line interpreter to run UNIX/Linux commands
  • Scripting, or creating reusable scripts that can be called from the shell

The Bourne shell, which replaced the Thompson shell, also had several additional improvements over its forerunners, including the ability to include control flows, loops, and variables into scripts for a more functional language with which to communicate with the operating system. The shell also lets you use shell scripts as filters and had support for signal handling, but it didn’t let you write functions.

It popularized some capabilities that are still in use today, such as command substitution and the ability to insert preserved string literals in scripts via HERE documents. The creation of the several shells we use today was sparked by the Bourne shell.


To create a scripting language akin to the C programming language, Bill Joy created the C shell (csh). This was advantageous since C was the most used language at the time, making it simpler and faster to use.



The Korn Shell(ksh), created by David Korn, incorporated elements of the Bourne Shell with the C Shell. The Bourne Shell and it are backward-compatible. It included C Shell features including command history, aliasing, and job management.

The TENEX C Shell (tcsh) debuted the same year as well. It was initially a variant of the C Shell that had editing and programmable command line completion features added to it.


The Bourne-Again Shell (bash), one of the most popular shells available today, was created by Brian Fox for the GNU project as a pre-software replacement for the Bourne Shell. It displayed all of the Bourne shell’s functionality but is a lot more effective and user-friendly. It provided command replacement, piping, filename globbing, conditional testing, and control structures for iteration.

At Present

Later, many shells were developed, including the Public Domain Korn Shell, the Almquist Shell, and the Extensible Shell, each of which introduced additional features and languages tailored to a particular need.

Understanding the Shell

An operating system can be accessed using Shell, an interactive environment. To implement a certain usage model, it sequentially collects your input.

Fundamental Architecture of Shell

Fundamental Architecture Of Shell

The hypothetical Shell’s basic architecture isn’t very complicated. The fundamental design resembles a pipeline in that input is processed, interpreted, and symbols are extended. It employs some techniques, including filename creation, brace, and tilde, as well as variable and parameter expansion and replacement. Then, orders are carried out either internally via the shell or externally.

Types of Shells and Why You Should Use Them

Each of these shells has its own distinct flavor and is intended for those looking for answers to various challenges. Through their separate scripts, which are developed to carry out the same objective, namely locating all executable files, you can discover how similar or different these popular shells are from one another.

Types of Shells: Bourne-Again Shell 

Bourne Again Shell, or Bash, is the current default shell on many Linux systems. It is also a sh-compatible shell that provides useful enhancements over sh for interactive use and programming, such as:

  • Editing with a command line
  • Role Control
  • History of unlimited size commands
  • Functions and Aliases for Shell
  • Indexed arrays of any size
  • Arithmetic in any base from two to sixty-four for integers

Types of Shells: TENEX C Shell

Tcsh is an improved version of the C shell that can be used as a shell script command processor as well as an interactive login shell.

The following characteristics of Tcsh:

  • C-style syntax
  • The command-line editor
  • Word and filename completion programs
  • Spelling improvement
  • Task command

Types of Shells: Korn Shell

David G. Korn created and developed the Korn shell, sometimes known as Ksh. Like many other Unix/GNU Linux shells, it is a comprehensive, potent, high-level programming language that also functions as an interactive command language.

The Korn shell supports some more sophisticated capabilities present in contemporary scripting languages, including;

  • Arrays with associations
  • Floating-point computation
  • Task command
  • Power aliasing
  • Order history
  • Complies with posix requirements
  • Bash backward compatibility

Types of Shells: Z Shell

In addition to including numerous features from other Unix/GNU Linux shells like bash, tcsh, and ksh, Zsh is intended to be interactive.

In addition, it has a robust scripting language, exactly like the other existing shells. Although it has several distinctive qualities, such as:

  • Creation of filenames
  • Startup documents
  • Sign in/out observing
  • Closing remarks
  • Index of concepts
  • Varying index
  • Index of functions
  • Key indexes and a lot more information are available on man pages.

Types of Shells: Scheme Shell

The Scheme shell (scsh) is a rare type of shell that provides a scripting environment for the Lisp-derived Scheme language. The Pyshell is an effort to develop a comparable script using the Python programming language.

The script might seem strange, but it implements features that are comparable to those in the scripts that have been offered so far. To check the number of arguments, this script has three functions and directly executable code at the conclusion. The show files function, which iterates a list and calls write-ln after each entry of the list, is something I’d want to direct your attention to. This list is created by iterating over the named directory and looking for executable files.


These are the several Types of Shells that haven’t changed much in approximately 35 years after they were created, which is a great credit to the early shells’ creators. The initial shell has consistently shown to be considered in a sector that constantly reinvents itself.

The fundamental design of the shell has remained the same over time, despite advancements. Learn Linux Course in Chennai at Softlogic Systems to gain expertise in Shell Scripting.

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