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Unix shells

In Unix and Linux, you have quite a choice of different shells that you can run, and more become available every year. There are various different shells available, including sh, ash, bash, ksh, pdksh, csh, tcsh, zsh and even more other shells.

When you enter your shell, you are left looking at a prompt until you type something in. This is looked down upon by GUI lovers, but although the shell takes time to learn, familiarity with it has a number of advantages. One of the most significant is that you can easily automate tasks that you do regularly, simply by typing them into a script, setting it as runnable, and then every time you need to do that task, you just type in the name of your script. This gives you a massive advantage for "thinking outside the box", where you want to do something where the original programmers never even considered wanting to do it, not least because all of those scripts that you and everyone else have written give you a massive toolkit for trying to do new things. Script programming makes things a lot easier, but sometimes you need something more powerful.

Sometimes the shell just isn't good enough, ie for graphics and video work. For this you will need a Graphical User Interface, or GUI for short. Under Unix generally, this is the X windows system (or X for short).

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