Bash vs Shell: Difference and Comparison

Shell is a command-line interface that allows us to run commands, programs, and shell scripts. Shells come in a variety of flavours, much as operating systems come in a variety of flavours.

Each Shell has its own set of commands and functionalities that are well-known.

Bourne shell is known as “the shell” since it was the first Shell to debut on Unix computers. On most Unix versions, the Bourne shell is installed as /bin/sh.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bash is a specific shell type, while the shell is a generic term for a command-line interface.
  2. Bash is the default shell on most Linux systems, while many different types of shells are available.
  3. Bash has more features and capabilities than other shells, making it a popular choice for developers and power users.

Bash vs Shell

The difference between bash and Shell is Bash is a superset of sh, which implies it supports sh’s functionality while also adding additional extensions. The majority of the commands work in the same way they do in sh, whereas a shell is a user-to-operating-system interface that allows a user to engage with a computer. We’ll need a terminal emulator like gnome-terminal, console, or st to interface with the Shell.

Bash vs Shell

A bash is a shell software that was created as an improvement to the Bourne Shell application ‘sh.’ It is more functional than Bourne Shell in terms of programming and interactive use.

It offers features such as command-line editing, key bindings, and endless command history. For most Linux distributions and Apple’s macOS, Bash is the default login shell. It’s also available for Windows 10 with a Solaris 11 version and default user shell.

A shell is a software that allows users of an operating system to access the kernel’s services through a user interface.

A shell can be invoked by the shell command in the command-line interface (CLI) on Unix- or Linux-based OS, letting people manage operations via specific commands, text, or script.

Programming languages have their shells, which provide them independence from the operating system and allow cross-platform interoperability.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBashShell
TypesIt has 4 categories.It has 2 major categories.
Name Bourne Again ShellBourne Shell or simply “The Shell”.
FunctionalityIt has more Functionality with up-gradation.It has less functionality.
DeveloperBrain FoxStephen R. Bourne
Installation Form/bin/bash/bin/sh
Job ControlThe Bash Shell supports job controls.The Bourne Shell does not support job control.
Command HistoryThe Bash Shell Supports command history.The Shell does not support command history.

What is Bash?

BASH stands for Bourne Again Shell, a clever term that pays homage to Bourne Shell. Bash is a shell program developed by Brian Fox as an update to the Bourne Shell application ‘sh.

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It’s a GNU project that’s open source. It was first introduced in 1989 as one of the most popular GNU/Linux shell distributions. It is more functional than Bourne Shell in terms of programming and interactive use.

It offers features such as command-line editing, key bindings, and endless command history. Bash is a command-line interpreter that runs in a text window and allows the user to interpret commands to do various tasks.

A Shell Script is a sequence of these commands contained within a single file. A Shell Script can be read and executed using Bash.

Bash is compatible with sh since it is based on the original UNIX Bourne Shell. It has the best and most useful features of the Korn and C shells, such as directory manipulation, job control, aliases, and so on.

Key bindings in Bash allow you to create customized editing key sequences. Bash has one-dimensional arrays that make it simple to access and handle data lists.

The history of recently-visited directories within a list is specified by Directory Stack in Bash.

For example, the pushd built-in is used to add a directory to the stack, the popd built-in is used to remove a directory from the stack, and the dirs built-in is used to display the directory stack’s content.

What is Shell?

The Unix operating system has a command-line interface known as a Shell. It collects data from you and runs programs depending on that data. The output of a program is displayed once it has completed its execution.

Shell is a command-line interface that allows us to run commands, programs, and shell scripts. Shells come in a variety of flavours, much as operating systems come in a variety of flavours.

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 Each Shell has its own set of commands and functionalities that are well-known. A shell script is just a set of commands that are listed in the sequence in which they should be executed.

Comments, preceded by the # symbol, describe the steps of a decent shell script.

The shell issues the prompt, $, sometimes known as the command prompt. You can type a command while the prompt is shown.

After you press Enter, Shell reads your input. It looks at the first word of your input to decide which command you wish to run. A word is a continuous string of characters.

Words are separated by spaces and tabs. Shell scripts must include certain mandatory structures that instruct the shell environment on what to do and when. Most scripts, however, are more complicated than the ones above.

After all, the Shell is a full-fledged programming language with variables, control structures, and so on. A script is still just a series of commands executed in order, no matter how complex it becomes.

Main Differences Between Bash and Shell 

  1. Bash was developed by Brain Fox, whereas the Shell or the Bourne shell was developed by Stephen R. Bourne.
  2. When it comes to features and functionality, bash supports more features than Shell.
  3. Bash supports the job control feature, whereas Shell does not support the feature.
  4. When it comes to command history, bash excels Shell or simply bourne shell.
  5. Bash and Shell have completely different installation packages and sites.
References
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=OP1tAQP47b4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA2&dq=bash+script&ots=J88e6AgvXe&sig=0bDtr4c3aPnhKWOVOVlV7a93iHI
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13321-018-0312-9

Last Updated : 17 August, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Bash vs Shell: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I had no idea that programming languages have their own shells. It’s intriguing to learn about the cross-platform interoperability they provide.

    Reply
  2. I didn’t know the history of Bash, it’s interesting to learn about its origins and the additional features it offers compared to Bourne Shell.

    Reply
  3. The difference between bash and Shell is an important one to understand, thank you for making it clearer in this article.

    Reply
  4. This article provides an excellent overview of the functionality and features of Bash and Shell. Very insightful.

    Reply
  5. The detailed information about Bash and Shell provided in this article is very enlightening. Thank you for sharing this knowledge.

    Reply

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