Briefly describe the Shell’s responsibilities

Briefly describe the Shell’s responsibilities

The shell provides an interface through which the user gives input and the programs are executed based upon that. The responsibilities of a Shell are:

  • Program execution: The shell is responsible for the execution of programs that is requested.
  • Variable and file name substitution: The shell allows us to assign values to variables. When a variable is specified on the command line, preceded by a dollar sign, the value that is assigned to that variable at that point is substituted by the shell.
  • I/O redirection: The shell is responsible for taking care of input and output redirection on the command line.
  • Pipeline hookup: The shell scans the command line for pipe character. If it finds such characters, it connects the standard output from the command preceding the | to the standard input of the one following the |. It then initiates execution of both programs. 
  • Environmental control: The shell allows us to customize our environment. Environment includes home directory, the list of directories that is searched when a program is requested to be executed and the characters that is prompted by the shell when the command is typed.
  • Interpreted programming language: The shell has its own built in programming language. The shell analyzes each statement in the language one line at a time and then executes it.

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