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a utility program that enables the user to interact with the UNIX operating system. Commands entered by the user are passed by the shell to the operating system which carries them out. The results are then passed back by the shell and displayed on the user's display.

There are several shells available. The user may select which one they wish to use.

shell prompt

a character at the start of the command line which indicates that the shell is ready to receive your commands. The character is usually a '%' (percent sign) or a $ (dollar sign). It may be different on your system.

standard input

the source of information for a command. This is assumed to be the keyboard unless input is redirected or piped from a file or another command.

standard output

the destination for information from a command. This is assumed to be the terminal display unless ouput is redirected or piped to a file or another command.


rules governing the way in which characters and words must be put together to form a command that can be recognised and acted upon by the UNIX operating system.

system administrator

a person or persons with responsibility for managing the system(s) you are using.

System V

one of the major variants of UNIX.

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