KSH vs Bash: Difference and Comparison

In Unix and Linux there are several “shells”. Shell refers to a special user program that offers to its users an interface to utilize OS services.

Two of the well-known shells are KSH and Bash. These are the shells of the computer programming field. These two have distinctive sets of features and commands. Both these shells are interrelated. 

Key Takeaways

  1. KSH (KornShell) is an older shell, while BASH (Bourne-Again SHell) is a newer shell with additional features.
  2. BASH is the default shell for most Linux distributions, while KSH is more common in Unix systems.
  3. BASH is compatible with KSH scripts but does not support all BASH features.

KSH vs Bash

KSH is a command interpreter and programming language compatible with POSIX. Bash is an enhanced version of the Bourne shell developed by Steve Bourne in the 1970s and is now the default shell in most Linux distributions. It supports many features of the Korn shell and has additional features.

KSH vs Bash

KSH refers to a Unix shell that was developed by David Korn in the early 1980s. It was developed inspired by the Bell Lab users’ request and it contains several features of the C shell.

KSH is also backward-compatible. There are mainly five versions of the KSH- PDKSH, KSH, MKSH, KSH93, and KSH88.

Bash, on the other hand, refers to the Bourne shell’s clone. It was developed by the FSF (Freeware Software Foundation) and licensed and written under the General Public License (GPL).

Bash shell was developed many years later by KSH, so it is the newer shell that has several new resources compared to that of KSH.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonKSHBash
Performance When dealing with the execution of commands and scripts KSH gives much better performance compared to Bash.     When dealing with the execution of commands and scripts the performance of the Bash is decent.
Programming features KSH provides superior and much more programming features compared to Bash.     The programming features of Bash are inferior compared to KSH. However, Bash also has a lot of programming features.
CommandKSH uses the print command, for printing the output, which is better than that of Bash.     Bash uses the echo command for printing the output.
ResourcesKSH was developed earlier than Bash, so there are few resources in KSH compared to that of Bash.     Bash is a new shell and as a result, it has many resources and is more popular compared to KSH.
ScriptsFor having older syntax, the scripts of a KSH are less readable.     For having a newer syntax, the scripts of a Bash are readable and understandable.

What is KSH?

KSH or the Korn shell refers to the UNIX shell which was developed by Sir David Korn in the early 1980s. KSH was developed many years ago, before the creation of Bash.

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As it was developed many years ago it has fewer resources compared to Bash. As a result, very few people are now using KSH.

It was developed as the combined comprehensive version of other important UNIX shells. It incorporated every feature of Tab C-shell and C shell and the script language features of the Bourne shells.

The Bourne shell was then considered the best shell in terms of efficiency. The most popular Unix shells are C shell, Bourne shell, and Korn shell. 

KSH is a member of the Bourne shell family and is very easy to use. As a result, inexperienced users prefer KSH.

The ‘r history’ command of the KSH is very good as it allows its users to return to the older commands very quickly. The print command of the KSH while printing the output is very efficient.

KSH also provides superior programming features. 

The binary size of the KSH interpreter is 1.6 MB. For having older syntax, the scripts of a KSH are less readable. KSH also has some associative arrays and it can easily handle the loop syntax efficiently. 

What is Bash?

Bash or Bourne Again Shell was an upgraded version of the Bourne Shell program named ‘sh’ which was written by Brian Fox.

It was developed by the FSF (Freeware Software Foundation) and licensed and written under the General Public License (GPL).

Bash improved many features of the Bourne Shell for both interactive and programming uses. It includes features like command history, editing of the command line, bindings of key, and many more.

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For the mac OS of Apple and most of the Linux Bash acts as the default login shell. It also can be accessed from Windows 10. In many Linux modes, it is now a default shell.

Bash refers to a command-line interpreter, running in a text window. Users interpret commands for conducting several actions.

The set of these various commands is called a Shell Script (as a series within a file). Bash reads those commands from the Shell Script and executes them for conducting several actions.

Compared to the KSH, Bash is more popular, more recent, and also has more resources as it developed recently. As a result, it makes it easy to learn using Bash.

The two most important advantages of Bash are the simple method of the prompt setting for displaying the current directory and the completion of the tab.

Main Differences Between KSH and Bash

  1. When dealing with the execution of commands and scripts KSH gives much better performance compared to Bash, on the other hand, when dealing with the execution of commands and scripts the performance of the Bash is decent.
  2. KSH provides superior and much more programming features compared to Bash. The programming features of Bash are inferior compared to KSH. However, Bash also has a lot of programming features.
  3. KSH uses the print command, for printing the output, which is better than that of Bash. Bash uses the echo command for printing the output.
  4. KSH was developed earlier than Bash, so there are few resources in KSH compared to that of Bash. Bash is a new shell and as a result, it has many resources and is more popular compared to KSH.
  5. For having older syntax, the scripts of a KSH are less readable, but for having a newer syntax, the scripts of a Bash are readable and understandable.
References
  1. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=korn+shell&oq=korn+she#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3Dzna0kMa6N3MJ
  2. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=Bash&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DYFtvOe41MKUJ

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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