Linux for Starters

Linux for Starters: Your Guide to Linux – Get Started with the Terminal – Part 9

Appendix – Explanation of Shell Builtins

Shell Builtin Commands
.Execute commands from a file in the current shell
..Do nothing beyond expanding arguments and performing redirections
[Square bracket
aliasDefine or display aliases
bgMove jobs to the background
bindChange how bash responds to keys, and combinations of keys
breakExit for, while, or until loops
builtinExecute shell builtins
cdChange the shell working directory
commandExecute a simple command or display information about commands
compgenDisplay possible completions depending on the options
completeSpecify how arguments are to be completed by Readline
compoptModify or display completion options
continueResume for, while, or until loops
declareSet variable values and attributes
dirsDisplay directory stack
disownRemove jobs from current shell
echoPrints an expression or variable
enableEnable and disable shell builtins
evalExecute arguments as a shell command
execReplace the shell with the given command
exitExit the shell
exportSet export attribute for shell variables
falseDo nothing, returning a non-zero (false) exit status
fcDisplay or execute commands from the history list
fgMove job to the foreground
getoptsUsed by shell procedures to parse positional parameters as options
hashRemember or display program locations
helpDisplay information about builtin commands
historyDisplay or manipulate the history list
jobsDisplay status of jobs
killSend a signal to a job
letEvaluate arithmetic expressions on variables
localDefine local variables
logoutExit a login shell
mapfileRead lines from the standard input into an indexed array variable
popdRemove directories from stack
printfFormats and prints ARGUMENTS under control of the FORMAT
pushdAdd directories to stack
pwdPrint the name of the current working directory
readRead a line from the standard input and split it into fields
readarrayRead lines from a file into an array variable
readonlyMark shell variables as unchangeable
returnReturn from a shell function
setSet or unset values of shell options and positional parameters
shiftShift positional parameters
shoptSet and unset shell options
sourceExecute commands from a file in the current shell
suspendSuspend shell execution
testEvaluate a conditional expression expr and return a status of 0 (true) or 1 (false)
timesDisplay process times
trapTrap signals and other events
trueExit with a status code indicating success
type Display information about command type
typesetSet variable values and attributes
ulimitModify shell resource limits
umaskRemove each NAME from the list of defined aliases
unaliasUnset values and attributes of shell variables and functions
unsetUnset values and attributes of shell variables and functions
waitWait for job completion and return exit status
To learn about each command type the command followed by --help

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Types of Commands
Page 2 – Shell Builtins
Page 3 – Aliases
Page 4 – External Commands
Page 5 – Navigate the shell efficiently
Page 6 – Appendix – Explanation of Shell Builtins


All articles in this series:

Linux For Starters: Your Guide to Linux
1What is Linux? Why use Linux? What do I need?
2Choose a Linux distribution meeting your specific needs and requirements.
3Make a bootable Ubuntu USB stick in Windows.
4We show you how to install Ubuntu 21.04 on your hard disk.
5Things to do after installing Ubuntu.
6Navigating your way around the Desktop.
7Updating the system, install new software.
8Open source replacements for proprietary Windows desktop software.
9Get started with the power and flexibility of the terminal.
10We cover the basics of files and permissions.
11Getting help from your system.
12Learn all about the file system.
13Manipulating files from the shell.
14Maintain your system with these simple tips.
15Managing users on your system.
16Explore different desktops to GNOME 3.
17Gaming on Linux.
18Protect your privacy with this guide.
19Access the Windows desktop from Linux using a remote desktop client.
20Set up a virtual machine running Ubuntu as the host and openSUSE as the guest.
21Wine lets you run Windows programs on Linux without emulation.
XUseful Linux commands.

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2 comments

  1. This is for beginners? Every other word seems undefined. I can read Supreme Court briefs and medical research but not this! The most important thing unexplained is what can be accomplished with these commands. If someone is willing to talk to me to explain these things, I am willing to suggest easier explanations.

    1. Every other word seems undefined?? I think you should read more of the guide before coming to your discourteous comment.

      You’ll learn a lot from Part 11, as that shows you how to find what you can do with the commands.

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