bash is the GNU version of the standard Bourne shell—the original Unix shell—and incorporates many popular features from other shells such as csh, tcsh, and the Korn shell (ksh). Both tcsh, which is described in the following chapter, and ksh, which offers many of the features in this chapter, are also available on most distributions of Linux. But bash is the standard Linux shell, loaded by default when most user accounts are created.
If executed as part of the user’s login, bash starts by executing any commands found in /etc/profile . Then it executes the commands found in ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bash_login, or ~/.profile (searching for each file only if the previous file is not found). Many distributions change shell defaults in /etc/profile for all users, even changing the behavior of common commands like ls.
In addition, every time it starts (as a subshell or a login shell), bash looks for a file named ~/.bashrc. Many system administration utilities create a small ~/.bashrc automatically, and many users create quite large startup files. Any commands that can be executed from the shell can be included. A small sample file may look like this (each feature can be found either in this chapter or in Chapter 3):
# Set bash variable to keep 50 commands in history. HSTSIZE=50 # # Set prompt to show current working directory and history number of # command. PS1='\w: Command \!$ ' # # Set path to search for commands in my directories, then standard ...