Comparing the Most Common Linux Shell to Find the Best One Out

A Linux Shell provides an interface to your desktop to gather the inputs and execute the programs based on the inputs you gave to your desktop. You get to see the output on the screen when a program finishes the execution process. Let’s understand this in detail.

We write an application in a high-level language, yet that’s understandable by humans. But when it comes to computers, it understands your inputs and everything in terms of binary codes. The compiler in the system, further, translates this high-level language into a binary file that is later used by us to launch an application. It indicates that our computer needs a translation layer to decode everything we feed into it. So, the middleman in this procedure is a ‘shell’ that interprets your inputs to the computer. It works as a compiler, but the only difference is that it takes one sentence at a time for translation. Whereas, the compiler scans and translates an entire program into a binary code at the same time.

Later, the shell or the interpreter works as an interface for you to maintain an interactive bridge with the operating system. As you continue to feed in your commands into the shell, it will continue to interpret and break down those commands for your system. Since there are plenty of shells available these days, you must remain aware of the one your desktop is using. To find that out, you have to open the terminal in your desktop and run the following command:

“cat /etc/shells”

This will open the list of all the shells your desktop carries. But to know the specific one that it’s using, currently, run this command:

“echo $0”

You will get the details on your screen. Now, there are a few more shell options that you should look at to find out the best ones for you. Following are the commonly used shells that might suit your interest:


This one is the most popular and the longest-running shell of all as it’s been there since 1989. Ever since its release, it has been running successfully and powerfully each decade after decade. Many Linux desktops run the Bash by default because it has the default GNU shell in it. Bash provides command completion and history along with direct script porting. Plus, it uses Bourne-Again Shells as a part of its equation. It supports brace expansion, signal handling, and executes various Bourne shell scripts without modification.


It is another powerful and robust shell that is an excellent alternative to Bash and the default shells used by Linux. It is also known as ksh and has backward compatibility with the Bourne shells. It also includes various features of the C shell. Its features are more or less similar to that of Bash. But if you were on the directory of /Downloads/foo/bar/one/foobar and wanted to get into /Downloads/foo/bar/two/foobar, then you have to enter the following command:

“cd one two”

One has to agree that it offers better loop syntax and associative arrays than others. To use KornShell, enter this command:

“sudo apt install ksh


Z Shell

It is also known as ‘Zsh,’ and it offers various features similar to those offered by KornShell and Bash. Some other unique features of Zsh include globbing, superior spelling correction, command-line completion, navigable auto-completion list, and history shared across terminals. Globbing includes wildcard characters for the file names and to use it, type:

“vim /u/l/b/a<TAB>”

This command will open a file with:


To install Z Shell, type:

“sudo apt install zsh



Tcsh is a Unix shell-based with C shells that help you program command-line completion, command-line editing, and include a few other features. You cannot define the inputs in tcsh scripts, so you will need to use an alias. It also offers easy command history access and is an ideal option for programming in C and prototyping small C programs. To run any command, type ‘!n’ and replace ‘n’ with a corresponding number from the history. To complete the history tab, type:


To install tcsh, type:

“sudo apt install tcsh


All of them offer great features, but the Bash shell wins when it comes to an overall analysis of the shells. You should install the one that meets your requirements, attracts your interest, and offers most of what you might need.

Emily Hadley is an avid technical blogger, a magazine contributor, a publisher of guides at Blogs Book, and a professional cyber security analyst. Through her writing, she aims to educate people about the dangers and threats lurking in the digital world. Read My Site store-address


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