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What is a "shell" and how could it help me?

Posted on 2004-03-22
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I hear alot of "shells" and how you could buy one and etc but unaware of what one really is...what is it? and how could i benefit from it?
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Question by:johndew
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by:chad
ID: 10652254
Johndew,
as of the time of this post, you have 15 open questions.  please return to the questions and close the ones that have been answered, reply to posts or questions by the experts, or post in support to have them deleted if the resolution has not been reached.  
thank you
KaBaaM
Networking PE
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by:johndew
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fixed,
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majorwoo earned 672 total points
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On to your question, where are you hearing the word "shell" used?  From my point of view a shell is a linux shell, a place where you enter commands to interact with the operating system, which is similar in some respects to a DOS window(also called a DOS shell).  The most common linux shell would be bash, you can find a nice overview of the commands for bash here:
http://linux.org.mt/article/terminal.

If there is something specific you are looking for let me know.
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by:YohanShminge
YohanShminge earned 664 total points
ID: 10654394
Check out this site for extensive information on shells: http://publib16.boulder.ibm.com/pseries/en_US/aixuser/usrosdev/shells.htm

An excerpt:

"Your interface to the operating system is called a shell. The shell is the outermost layer of the operating system. Shells incorporate a programming language to control processes and files, as well as to start and control other programs. The shell manages the interaction between you and the operating system by prompting you for input, interpreting that input for the operating system, and then handling any resulting output from the operating system."

"Shells provide a way for you to communicate with the operating system. This communication is carried out either interactively (input from the keyboard is acted upon immediately) or as a shell script. A shell script is a sequence of shell and operating system commands that is stored in a file."
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by:elinzon
elinzon earned 664 total points
ID: 10659987
Hi!
1.I hear a lot of "shells" and how you could buy one:
There is no way to buy a shell, it's free. At least I've never heard about buying one.
It mostly come with *NIX (UNIX operating systems), like FreeBSD, LINUX and so on. Since Unix was created in ~1975, there were no GUI (Graphic User Interface) at that time, so the only way to make OS do something, was through the commands. That what the shell is, it's an interpreter between you and OS. You type the commands, and shell translate them into OS language, and from OS back.

There are a lot of shells, but the two main are Born and C shell. And they have they derivatives. They are different in syntax and approach, like C is considered easer, while Bash( Born derivative) is considered more powerful. So it's about the test and specific task you need to do.

2. How could i benefit from it?
Shell is very powerful, but weird language. You can write scripts or small programs, macro like, where you specify events to happened. You can put conditions, and according to it, it will do one or another thing. In UNIX world, it's main way to communicate with OS, means set it up, configure, work with it, automate some tasks.

In nutshell shell it's a fast way to do something with OS, without need to go through the variety of icons and drop down menus.
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