bash - macOS


bash, the Bourne-Again SHell, is a command interpreter that allows users to type commands directly to the system. It also serves as a powerful scripting language and is the default shell on macOS and many Linux distributions. bash can be used to automate tasks, manage files and processes, and perform various system operations.


The basic syntax for invoking bash is:

bash [options] [file]
  • [options]: Optional flags that modify shell behavior.
  • [file]: An optional script file to execute.


bash supports a variety of options that control its behavior:

  • -c: Run the command specified in the following string.
  • -i: Start an interactive shell session.
  • -l: Make bash act as if it had been invoked as a login shell.
  • -r: Start a restricted shell, limiting user capabilities.
  • -s: Read commands from the standard input (used with script data passed via pipes).
  • -x: Enable debugging, prints commands as they are executed.
  • -v: Print shell input lines as they are read.


  1. Execute a Command:

    bash -c "echo Hello, World!"
  2. Run a Script:

  3. Interactive Mode:

    bash -i
  4. Login Shell:

    bash -l
  5. Debugging a Script:

    bash -x

Common Issues

  • Permission Denied: Ensure the script file is executable (chmod +x
  • Syntax Errors: Common in scripts, make sure commands and syntax conform to bash standards.
  • Path Issues: Use absolute paths in scripts to avoid missing file errors.


bash can be combined with other commands via scripts or one-liners, enabling complex pipelines and operations:

find . -type f -name "*.txt" | while read file; do bash -c "cat $file"; done

This command chain finds all .txt files and uses bash to display their contents.

  • sh: Another shell, often linked to bash or another shell on different systems.
  • zsh, csh, tcsh: Alternative shells with different features.
  • awk, sed: Tools for text processing that can be used within bash scripts.

For further information, refer to the official GNU Bash manual: GNU Bash Manual.