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Chapter 21. Shells and Shell Programming > Introduction to the Shell

21.1. Introduction to the Shell

The shell is the user interface to Unix, and by the same token, several shells are available in Unix. Mac OS X provides you with more than one shell to choose from. Each shell has different features, but all of them affect how commands will be interpreted and provide tools to create your Unix environment.

Let's suppose that the Unix operating system is a car. When you drive, you issue a variety of "commands": you turn the steering wheel, press the accelerator, or press the brake. But how does the car translate your commands into the action you want? The car's drive mechanism, which can be thought of as the car's user interface, is responsible. Cars can be equipped with front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and sometimes combinations of these.


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