Steve's Shell Programming Stuff

I dump stuff in here as I come across things which could be at all useful, either in themselves, or as examples of shell code.
Just read them yourself at /code/sh.

Some more coherent, concise tips are at

One thing I wrote a while ago and try to keep up to date, is a bourne shell programming tutorial, which I kind of like. Give me your comments. steve at

I've also got a mirror of Steve Bourne's own guide to the Bourne Shell, which has been converted into HTML by someone at You can find that guide here.

Very simple Miles-Per-Gallon calculator. This doesn't really belong here, as it's written in PHP, but it's a good example of a utility better written in PHP than the Shell.

What we do have here, is some old stuff I wrote years ago when I was working for ICL testing their DRS/NX Unix OS. There are also a few things here written by Liam Crilly, whom I've lost contact with, but wrote some good scripts, a few of which I've still got copies of lying around.

Douglas Dallas also helped with the mkkernel scripts; these are the first "scary" scripts I wrote, in that they automate the mangling of significant kernel-tuning files (quite inefficiently, looking back at them now), but that was a major turning point for me as I saw how effective scripting could be. These particular scripts turned half a day's hard work into a few quick keystrokes. That's what turned me on to scripting as a nice way of doing sysadmin (which I find kind of boring otherwise!)
PS. Also at ICL, I bumped into Malcolm Mladenovic a few times, who inspired me with his depth and breadth of knowledge. Maybe it was my naivete at the time, but he struck me as a genius. Googling for him, it seems he lives at; very private man, it seems, but I'd just like to thank him for the inspiration. Of course, he won't remember me, I was just a student on placement.

Other things to note: puts a title at the top of an xterm, using ANSI codes I ripped off from somewhere, no doubt. And the only recent (as in, from the past five years) thing to date, is rterm, which is another one-liner.

I will get some recent scripts into here as I come across them, honest!

There are quite a few free *nix accounts available, if you look around. Have a look at for a list of some.

Steve's Bourne / Bash shell stuff
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