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Special Edition Using® Solaris™ 9 by Tanuj Jain, Radhika Girisan

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Understanding the Shell

The shell acts as an intermediary between the user and the system kernel. It interprets the commands that are typed at the terminal and translates them into system calls that are performed by the kernel or other programs. The shell thus acts as a cover around the kernel and eliminates any need for the user to have direct interaction with the kernel.

The shell is a utility program and, like other Solaris utilities, exists as individual files, such as /bin/sh for the Bourne shell, /bin/csh for the C shell, and /bin/ksh for the Korn shell. It can be considered a master utility program, which enables a user to gain access to all the other utilities and resources of the computer. A shell reads the first word of a command line ...

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