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The Shell

A shell is a special-purpose program designed to read commands typed by a user and execute appropriate programs in response to those commands. Such a program is sometimes known as a command interpreter.

The term login shell is used to denote the process that is created to run a shell when the user first logs in.

Whereas on some operating systems the command interpreter is an integral part of the kernel, on UNIX systems, the shell is a user process. Many different shells exist, and different users (or, for that matter, a single user) on the same computer can simultaneously use different shells. A number of important shells have appeared over time:


  

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