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What is a shell prompt?

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Once you log in successfully, you should see the Unix command prompt, also known as the "shell prompt", appearing at the left side of your screen. This prompt means the system is waiting for you to type in some Unix command.

The shell is the program that waits for you to type in a Unix command and then press the return key. Then the shell handles the execution of your command.

In a brand-new account, your shell prompt will probably look like this:

This means that your shell is bash, version 3.2.

For information about bash, see the man page for bash.

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John Shipman,
Last updated: 2007/12/05 22:43:24 UT
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