I have stumbled upon a great site which gives an in depth guide on the different shells that a UNIX system can have. As a fellow Systems Administrator, I would like to share this great find to everyone and hopefully could help us fully understand each shell’s pros and cons.
This table below lists most features that I think would make you choose one shell over another. It is not intended to be a definitive list and does not include every single possible feature for every single possible shell. A feature is only considered to be in a shell if in the version that comes with the operating system, or if it is available as compiled directly from the standard distribution. In particular the C shell specified below is that available on SUNOS 4.*, a considerable number of vendors now ship either tcsh or their own enhanced C shell instead (they don’t always make it obvious that they are shipping tcsh.
Key to the table above.
Y Feature can be done using this shell.
N Feature is not present in the shell.
F Feature can only be done by using the shells function mechanism.
L The readline library must be linked into the shell to enable this Feature.
Notes to the table above
1. This feature was not in the orginal version, but has since become almost standard.
2. This feature is fairly new and so is often not found on many versions of the shell, it is gradually making its way into standard distribution.
3. The Vi emulation of this shell is thought by many to be incomplete.
4. This feature is not standard but unoffical patches exist to perform this.
5. A version called ‘pdksh’ is freely available, but does not have the full functionality of the AT&T version.
6. This can be done via the shells programmable completion mechanism.
7. Only by specifing a file via the ENV environment variable.
For more information follow the site here.
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