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I. Learning the Basics > 1. Introduction

Chapter 1. Introduction

In This chapter:

  • Using the Examples

  • Selecting a Login Shell

  • Before You Read Further

When you log in to a UNIX system, you’re typically greeted by some sort of banner message and a prompt such as % or $. The prompt indicates that you’re talking to a shell—a command interpreter that provides you with an interface to the services UNIX offers. Why the name “shell”? Think of a shell as a wrapper around UNIX, insulating you from the need to know the underlying details of the operating system. Your shell helps you get your work done by reading the commands you type and passing the commands to the operating system for execution.

This handbook is about csh, a popular shell that is well suited for issuing commands, and tcsh, csh’s more powerful cousin. When you use a shell, the shell’s capabilities and your ability to effectively employ them have a direct impact on the efficiency with which you work. This handbook helps you get more out of csh or tcsh by showing you what the shells can do and how to use their services in interesting and creative ways. Your shell will become more valuable to you, because you’ll know how to use it to get your work done more easily.


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