Is Shell Scripting and Bash Scripting Are Same?


Larry Thompson

Is Shell Scripting and Bash Scripting the Same?

Shell scripting and Bash scripting are often used interchangeably, but are they really the same thing? Let’s dive into the world of scripting languages to understand the similarities and differences between these two terms.

Understanding Shell Scripting

Shell scripting refers to writing a series of commands for a shell interpreter. A shell is a program that provides an interface for users to interact with an operating system. Shell scripts are typically written in shell programming languages like Bourne shell (sh), C shell (csh), Korn shell (ksh), Bourne Again SHell (bash), and more.

  • Bourne shell (sh): The original Unix shell that serves as the foundation for many other shells.
  • C shell (csh): A Unix shell with a C-like syntax and additional features for interactive use.
  • Korn shell (ksh): A more powerful Unix shell that combines features from sh and csh.
  • Bash: An enhanced version of the Bourne shell, which is the default command language interpreter for most Linux distributions.

The Role of Bash in Shell Scripting

Bash, short for Bourne Again SHell, is one of the most popular and widely used shells. It provides numerous features, including command-line editing, history, job control, variables, functions, and more. Due to its rich set of functionalities, Bash has become the de facto standard for writing shell scripts on Linux systems.

Differences Between Shell Scripting and Bash Scripting

Bash scripting is a subset of shell scripting. While shell scripting encompasses writing scripts for any shell interpreter, Bash scripting specifically focuses on using the Bash shell. This means that all Bash scripts are shell scripts, but not all shell scripts are Bash scripts.

When writing a Bash script, you can take advantage of the additional features provided by Bash, such as arrays, arithmetic operations, string manipulation functions, and extended regular expressions. These features may not be available in other shells.

If you want your script to run on multiple systems or need to ensure maximum compatibility, it’s recommended to stick to POSIX-compliant syntax and avoid using features specific to a particular shell like Bash.


In summary, while the terms “shell scripting” and “Bash scripting” are often used interchangeably, there is a distinction between them. Shell scripting refers to writing scripts for any shell interpreter, whereas Bash scripting specifically focuses on using the Bash shell. Understanding this difference will help you choose the appropriate approach when working with different shells or aiming for maximum compatibility.

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