Bourne Shell

What Does Bourne Shell Mean?

A Bourne shell (sh) is a UNIX shell or command processor that is used for scripting. It was developed in 1977 by Stephen Bourne of AT&T and introduced in UNIX Version 7, replacing the Mashey shell (sh).

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The Bourne shell is also known by its executable program name, "sh" and the dollar symbol, "$," which is used with command prompts.

Techopedia Explains Bourne Shell

A Bourne shell interprets and executes user defined commands and provides command based programming abilities. A Bourne shell enables the writing and executing of shell scripts, which provide basic program control flow, control over input/output (I/O) file descriptors and all key features required to create scripts or structured programs for shell.

A Bourne shell also executes commands and functions that are predefined or integrated; files that search or follow a command path, as well as text file commands.

The Bourne shell’s architectural code was implemented in subsequent versions of UNIX shell, including Bourne Again shell (Bash), Korn shell and Zsh shell.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.