What are the main responsibilities of a Unix Shell?

Some of the main responsibilities of a Unix Shell are as follows:

  • Program Execution: A shell is responsible for executing the commands and script files in Unix. User can either interactively enter the commands in Command Line Interface called terminal or they can run a script file containing a program.
  • Environment Setup: A shell can define the environment for a user. We can set many environment variables in a shell and use the value of these variables in our program.
  • Interpreter: A shell acts as an interpreter for our scripts. It has a built in programming language that can be used to implement the logic.
  • Pipeline: A shell also can hookup a pipeline of commands. When we run multiple commands separated by | pipe character, the shell takes the output of a command and passes it to next one in the pipeline.
  • I/O Redirection: Shell is also responsible for taking input from command line interface (CLI) and sending the output back to CLI. We use >, <, >> characters for this purpose.

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