Leveling up in Bash #1: Commands & Arguments

Xavier Briand
Jan 29 · 2 min read
The Bash Guide — A quality-driven guide through the shell’s many features.


This guide gets a good score on https://wiki.bash-hackers.org/scripting/tutoriallist.

Programs location

When running a program, if the command name doesn’t contain a /, bash checks if it’s a built-in or a function then searches that command in a serie of folders —listed in$PATH — until it finds a match. type [-aftpP] name displays this decision making.

A command name containing a / is considered direct pathname to the command.


Arguments are blank spaced (eg. space, tab) delimited: word splitting.

Arguments that (might) contain blank spaces must either be quoted (using ' or ") or their blank spaces escaped (using \).
Single quoted string transform everything in the string in literals, double quoted string allow expansions. So $ rm foo bar$ rm 'foo bar'. With var='foo bar', $ rm $var$ rm "$var".


Redirections allow to manage processes’ file descriptors. Processes have 3 default file descriptors:

  • FD 0: standard input (stdin)
  • FD 1: standard output (stdout)
  • FD 2: standard error (stderr)

Via the terminal app, the bash process has its stdin connected to the keyboard stream, and stdout and stderr connected to the terminal display stream.

File redirections

[x]>file redirects FD x (default to FD 1) to file.
eg. $ ls not-here 2> errors.log.

[x]>>file redirects FD x and append to file.

Shortcut: &>file = >file 2>&1, &>>file = >>file 2>&1

[x]<file redirected file to FD x (default to FD 0).
eg. $ cat < errors.log

File descriptor copy

[x]>&y copies FD y stream connection to FD x.
eg. $ ls not-here > all.log 2>&1: Redirect stdout to all.log, then copy stdout stream connection to stderr.

Also works like x<&[y].

Here documents/strings

Make stdin read from a string.



$ cat <<.
Hello world!
My name is $name.

eg. $ cat <<<"Hello World! My name is $name.".

My journey into Cybersecurity

My experience trailblazing the practice of Cybersecurity

Xavier Briand

Written by

50% solution finder at @ExperiencePoint / 50% endurance cyclist. Will train for food and burn it for adventures.

My journey into Cybersecurity

My experience trailblazing the practice of Cybersecurity

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