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TUCoPS :: Unix :: General :: cshell.txt

Intro to the UNIX C-shell

cat /usr/spool/public/unix_stuff/csh.doc

               An introduction to the C shell

                        William Joy

                 Computer Science Division
 Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
             University of California, Berkeley
                 Berkeley, California 94720


          _C_s_h is a new command language interpreter for
     UNIX* systems.  It incorporates good  features  of
     other  shells  and  a _h_i_s_t_o_r_y mechanism similar to
     the _r_e_d_o of INTERLISP.  While  incorporating  many
     features  of other shells which make writing shell
     programs  (shell  scripts)  easier,  most  of  the
     features  unique  to _c_s_h are designed more for the
     interactive UNIX user.

          UNIX users who have read a general  introduc-
     tion  to  the  system  will  find a valuable basic
     explanation of the shell  here.   Simple  terminal
     interaction  with  _c_s_h  is  possible after reading
     just the first  section  of  this  document.   The
     second  section  describes the shells capabilities
     which you can explore  after  you  have  begun  to
     become  acquainted with the shell.  Later sections
     introduce  features  which  are  useful,  but  not
     necessary for all users of the shell.

          Back matter includes an appendix listing spe-
     cial  characters  of  the  shell and a glossary of
     terms and commands introduced in this manual.

March 10, 1984

*UNIX is a Trademark of Bell Laboratories.

               An introduction to the C shell

                        William Joy

                 Computer Science Division
 Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
             University of California, Berkeley
                 Berkeley, California 94720


     A _s_h_e_l_l is a command language interpreter.  _C_s_h is  the
name  of  one  particular  command interpreter on UNIX.  The
primary purpose of _c_s_h is to translate command  lines  typed
at  a  terminal  into  system actions, such as invocation of
other programs.  _C_s_h is a user program  just  like  any  you
might  write.   Hopefully, _c_s_h will be a very useful program
for you in interacting with the UNIX system.

     In addition to this document, you will want to refer to
a  copy of the UNIX programmer's manual.  The _c_s_h documenta-
tion in the  manual  provides  a  full  description  of  all
features of the shell and is a final reference for questions
about the shell.

     Many words in  this  document  are  shown  in  _i_t_a_l_i_c_s.
These  are  important  words;  names  of commands, and words
which have special meaning in discussing the shell and UNIX.
Many  of  the  words are defined in a glossary at the end of
this document.  If you don't know what is meant by  a  word,
you should look for it in the glossary.


     Numerous people have provided good input about previous
versions of _c_s_h and aided in its debugging and in the debug-
ging of its documentation.  I would especially like to thank
Michael  Ubell who made the crucial observation that history
commands could be done well over the word structure of input
text,  and  implemented  a prototype history mechanism in an
older version of the shell.  Eric Allman has also provided a
large  number  of  useful  comments on the shell, helping to
unify those concepts which are present and to  identify  and
eliminate  useless  and  marginally  useful  features.  Mike
O'Brien  suggested  the  pathname  hashing  mechanism  which
speeds  command  execution.   Jim Kulp added the job control
and directory stack primitives and added their documentation
to this introduction.

                           - 2 -

_1.  _T_e_r_m_i_n_a_l _u_s_a_g_e _o_f _t_h_e _s_h_e_l_l

_1._1.  _T_h_e _b_a_s_i_c _n_o_t_i_o_n _o_f _c_o_m_m_a_n_d_s

     A _s_h_e_l_l in UNIX acts mostly as a medium  through  which
other  _p_r_o_g_r_a_m_s  are invoked.  While it has a set of _b_u_i_l_t_i_n
functions which it performs directly,  most  commands  cause
execution  of  programs  that  are, in fact, external to the
shell.  The shell is thus  distinguished  from  the  command
interpreters  of  other  systems both by the fact that it is
just a user program, and by the fact that it is used  almost
exclusively as a mechanism for invoking other programs.

     _C_o_m_m_a_n_d_s in the  UNIX  system  consist  of  a  list  of
strings  or  _w_o_r_d_s interpreted as a _c_o_m_m_a_n_d _n_a_m_e followed by
_a_r_g_u_m_e_n_t_s.  Thus the command

        mail bill

consists of two words.  The first word _m_a_i_l names  the  com-
mand  to  be  executed,  in this case the mail program which
sends messages to other users.  The shell uses the  name  of
the  command  in  attempting to execute it for you.  It will
look in a number of _d_i_r_e_c_t_o_r_i_e_s for a  file  with  the  name
_m_a_i_l which is expected to contain the mail program.

     The rest of the words of the command are given as _a_r_g_u_-
_m_e_n_t_s  to  the  command itself when it is executed.  In this
case we specified also the argument  _b_i_l_l  which  is  inter-
preted  by the _m_a_i_l program to be the name of a user to whom
mail is to be sent.  In normal terminal usage we  might  use
the _m_a_i_l command as follows.

        % mail bill
        I have a question about the csh documentation.
        My document seems to be missing page 5.
        Does a page five exist?

     Here we typed a message to send to _b_i_l_l and ended  this
message with a |^D which sent an end-of-file to the mail pro-
gram.  (Here and  throughout  this  document,  the  notation
``|^_x'' is to be read ``control-_x'' and represents the strik-
ing of the _x key while the control key is  held  down.)  The
mail  program then echoed the characters `EOT' and transmit-
ted our message.  The characters `% '  were  printed  before
and  after  the  mail  command by the shell to indicate that
input was needed.

     After typing the `% ' prompt the shell was reading com-
mand  input  from our terminal.  We typed a complete command

                           - 3 -

`mail bill'.  The shell then executed the _m_a_i_l program  with
argument  _b_i_l_l  and went dormant waiting for it to complete.
The mail program then read input from our terminal until  we
signalled  an  end-of-file  via  typing a |^D after which the
shell noticed that mail had completed and signaled  us  that
it  was  ready  to  read from the terminal again by printing
another `% ' prompt.

     This is the essential pattern of all  interaction  with
UNIX  through the shell.  A complete command is typed at the
terminal, the shell executes the command and when this  exe-
cution  completes, it prompts for a new command.  If you run
the editor for an hour, the shell will  patiently  wait  for
you  to finish editing and obediently prompt you again when-
ever you finish editing.

     An example of a useful command you can execute  now  is
the  _t_s_e_t  command,  which  sets  the default _e_r_a_s_e and _k_i_l_l
characters on your terminal - the erase character erases the
last  character  you typed and the kill character erases the
entire line you have entered so far.  By default, the  erase
character is `#' and the kill character is `@'.  Most people
who use CRT displays prefer to use the backspace (|^H)  char-
acter  as  their  erase character since it is then easier to
see what you have typed so far.  You can make this  be  true
by typing

        tset -e

which tells the program _t_s_e_t to set the erase character, and
its default setting for this character is a backspace.

_1._2.  _F_l_a_g _a_r_g_u_m_e_n_t_s

     A useful notion in UNIX is that  of  a  _f_l_a_g  argument.
While  many arguments to commands specify file names or user
names some arguments rather specify an  optional  capability
of  the  command  which  you wish to invoke.  By convention,
such arguments begin with the character `-' (hyphen).   Thus
the command


will produce a list of the  files  in  the  current  _w_o_r_k_i_n_g
_d_i_r_e_c_t_o_r_y.  The option -_s is the size option, and

        ls -s

causes _l_s to also give, for each file the size of  the  file
in  blocks  of  512 characters.  The manual section for each
command in the UNIX reference  manual  gives  the  available
options for each command.  The _l_s command has a large number
of useful and interesting options.  Most other commands have
either no options or only one or two options.  It is hard to

                           - 4 -

remember options of commands which are not  used  very  fre-
quently,  so  most  UNIX  utilities  perform only one or two
functions rather than having  a  large  number  of  hard  to
remember options.

_1._3.  _O_u_t_p_u_t _t_o _f_i_l_e_s

     Commands that normally read input or  write  output  on
the  terminal  can  also  be executed with this input and/or
output done to a file.

     Thus suppose we wish to save the current date in a file
called `now'.  The command


will print the  current  date  on  our  terminal.   This  is
because  our terminal is the default _s_t_a_n_d_a_r_d _o_u_t_p_u_t for the
date command and the date command prints  the  date  on  its
standard  output.   The  shell lets us _r_e_d_i_r_e_c_t the _s_t_a_n_d_a_r_d
_o_u_t_p_u_t of a command through a notation using the _m_e_t_a_c_h_a_r_a_c_-
_t_e_r  `>'  and  the  name  of  the file where output is to be
placed.  Thus the command

        date > now

runs the _d_a_t_e command such that its standard output  is  the
file  `now'  rather  than  the  terminal.  Thus this command
places the current date and time into the file `now'.  It is
important to know that the _d_a_t_e command was unaware that its
output was going to a file rather than to the terminal.  The
shell  performed  this  _r_e_d_i_r_e_c_t_i_o_n before the command began

     One other thing to note here is  that  the  file  `now'
need  not have existed before the _d_a_t_e command was executed;
the shell would have created the file if it did  not  exist.
And  if  the  file  did exist?  If it had existed previously
these previous contents would have been discarded!  A  shell
option  _n_o_c_l_o_b_b_e_r  exists  to  prevent  this  from happening
accidentally; it is discussed in section 2.2.

     The system normally keeps files which you  create  with
`>'  and  all other files.  Thus the default is for files to
be permanent.  If you wish to create a file  which  will  be
removed  automatically,  you  can  begin its name with a `#'
character, this `scratch' character denotes  the  fact  that
the file will be a scratch file.*  The  system  will  remove
*Note that if your erase character is a `#',  you  will
have  to precede the `#' with a `\'.  The fact that the
`#' character is the old (pre-CRT) standard erase char-
acter  means that it seldom appears in a file name, and
allows this convention to be used  for  scratch  files.

                           - 5 -

such files after a couple of days, or sooner if  file  space
becomes  very  tight.   Thus,  in  running  the _d_a_t_e command
above, we don't really want to save the output  forever,  so
we would more likely do

        date > #now

_1._4.  _M_e_t_a_c_h_a_r_a_c_t_e_r_s _i_n _t_h_e _s_h_e_l_l

     The shell has a  large  number  of  special  characters
(like  `>')  which  indicate special functions.  We say that
these notations have _s_y_n_t_a_c_t_i_c and _s_e_m_a_n_t_i_c meaning  to  the
shell.   In  general,  most  characters  which  are  neither
letters nor digits have special meaning to  the  shell.   We
shall  shortly learn a means of _q_u_o_t_a_t_i_o_n which allows us to
use _m_e_t_a_c_h_a_r_a_c_t_e_r_s without the shell treating  them  in  any
special way.

     Metacharacters normally have effect only when the shell
is reading our input.  We need not worry about placing shell
metacharacters in a letter we are sending via _m_a_i_l, or  when
we  are  typing in text or data to some other program.  Note
that the shell is only reading input when  it  has  prompted
with `% '.

_1._5.  _I_n_p_u_t _f_r_o_m _f_i_l_e_s; _p_i_p_e_l_i_n_e_s

     We learned above how to _r_e_d_i_r_e_c_t the _s_t_a_n_d_a_r_d _o_u_t_p_u_t of
a  command  to  a file.  It is also possible to redirect the
_s_t_a_n_d_a_r_d _i_n_p_u_t of a command from a file.  This is not  often
necessary  since  most  commands will read from a file whose
name is given as an argument.  We can give the command

        sort < data

to run the _s_o_r_t command with standard input, where the  com-
mand  normally  reads  its  input, from the file `data'.  We
would more likely say

        sort data

letting the _s_o_r_t command open  the  file  `data'  for  input
itself since this is less to type.

     We should note that if we just typed


If  you are using a CRT, your erase character should be
a |^H, as we demonstrated in section 1.1 how this  could
be set up.

                           - 6 -

then the sort program would sort  lines  from  its  _s_t_a_n_d_a_r_d
_i_n_p_u_t.   Since  we  did  not _r_e_d_i_r_e_c_t the standard input, it
would sort lines as we typed them on the terminal  until  we
typed a |^D to indicate an end-of-file.

     A most useful capability is the ability to combine  the
standard  output  of  one command with the standard input of
another, i.e. to run the commands in a sequence known  as  a
_p_i_p_e_l_i_n_e.  For instance the command

        ls -s

normally produces a list of the files in our directory  with
the  size  of  each  in blocks of 512 characters.  If we are
interested in learning which of our files is largest we  may
wish  to have this sorted by size rather than by name, which
is the default way in which _l_s sorts.  We could look at  the
many  options of _l_s to see if there was an option to do this
but would eventually discover that there is not.  Instead we
can use a couple of simple options of the _s_o_r_t command, com-
bining it with _l_s to get what we want.

     The -_n option of sort specifies a numeric  sort  rather
than an alphabetic sort.  Thus

        ls -s | sort -n

specifies that the output of the _l_s  command  run  with  the
option  -_s  is  to be _p_i_p_e_d to the command _s_o_r_t run with the
numeric sort option.  This would give us a  sorted  list  of
our  files  by  size, but with the smallest first.  We could
then use the -_r reverse sort option and the _h_e_a_d command  in
combination with the previous command doing

        ls -s | sort -n -r | head -5

Here we have taken a list of  our  files  sorted  alphabeti-
cally,  each  with  the size in blocks.  We have run this to
the standard input of the _s_o_r_t command  asking  it  to  sort
numerically  in  reverse order (largest first).  This output
has then been run into the command _h_e_a_d which gives  us  the
first  few  lines.   In this case we have asked _h_e_a_d for the
first 5 lines.  Thus this command gives  us  the  names  and
sizes of our 5 largest files.

     The  notation  introduced  above  is  called  the  _p_i_p_e
mechanism.   Commands  separated  by `|' characters are con-
nected together by the shell and the standard output of each
is  run  into  the standard input of the next.  The leftmost
command in a pipeline will normally take its standard  input
from  the terminal and the rightmost will place its standard
output on the terminal.  Other examples of pipelines will be
given  later  when  we  discuss  the  history mechanism; one
important use of pipes which is illustrated there is in  the

                           - 7 -

routing of information to the line printer.

_1._6.  _F_i_l_e_n_a_m_e_s

     Many commands to be executed will  need  the  names  of
files  as  arguments.  UNIX _p_a_t_h_n_a_m_e_s consist of a number of
_c_o_m_p_o_n_e_n_t_s separated by `/'.  Each component except the last
names  a  directory  in which the next component resides, in
effect specifying the _p_a_t_h of directories to follow to reach
the file.  Thus the pathname


specifies a file in the directory `etc' which is a subdirec-
tory  of  the _r_o_o_t directory `/'.  Within this directory the
file named is `motd' which stands for `message of the  day'.
A  _p_a_t_h_n_a_m_e  that begins with a slash is said to be an _a_b_s_o_-
_l_u_t_e pathname since it is specified from the absolute top of
the  entire  directory  hierarchy  of the system (the _r_o_o_t).
_P_a_t_h_n_a_m_e_s which do not begin with  `/'  are  interpreted  as
starting  in  the  current  _w_o_r_k_i_n_g  _d_i_r_e_c_t_o_r_y, which is, by
default, your _h_o_m_e directory and can be changed  dynamically
by the _c_d change directory command.  Such pathnames are said
to be _r_e_l_a_t_i_v_e to the working directory since they are found
by starting in the working directory and descending to lower
levels of directories for each _c_o_m_p_o_n_e_n_t  of  the  pathname.
If  the pathname contains no slashes at all then the file is
contained in the working directory itself and  the  pathname
is  merely the name of the file in this directory.  Absolute
pathnames have no relation to the working directory.

     Most filenames consist  of  a  number  of  alphanumeric
characters  and `.'s (periods).  In fact, all printing char-
acters except `/' (slash) may appear in  filenames.   It  is
inconvenient  to  have  most  non-alphabetic  characters  in
filenames because many of these have special meaning to  the
shell.    The   character  `.'  (period)  is  not  a  shell-
metacharacter and is often used to separate the _e_x_t_e_n_s_i_o_n of
a file name from the base of the name.  Thus

        prog.c prog.o prog.errs prog.output

are four related files.  They share a _b_a_s_e portion of a name
(a  base  portion  being  that part of the name that is left
when a trailing `.' and following characters which  are  not
`.'  are  stripped  off).   The  file  `prog.c' might be the
source for a C program, the file `prog.o' the  corresponding
object  file, the file `prog.errs' the errors resulting from
a compilation of the program and the file `prog.output'  the
output of a run of the program.

     If we wished to refer to all four of these files  in  a
command, we could use the notation

                           - 8 -


This word is expanded by the shell, before  the  command  to
which  it  is  an argument is executed, into a list of names
which begin with `prog.'.  The character  `*'  here  matches
any sequence (including the empty sequence) of characters in
a file name.   The  names  which  match  are  alphabetically
sorted and placed in the _a_r_g_u_m_e_n_t _l_i_s_t of the command.  Thus
the command

        echo prog.*

will echo the names

        prog.c prog.errs prog.o prog.output

Note that the names are in sorted order  here,  and  a  dif-
ferent  order  than  we listed them above.  The _e_c_h_o command
receives four words as arguments, even though we only  typed
one  word as as argument directly.  The four words were gen-
erated by _f_i_l_e_n_a_m_e _e_x_p_a_n_s_i_o_n of the one input word.

     Other notations for _f_i_l_e_n_a_m_e _e_x_p_a_n_s_i_o_n are also  avail-
able.   The  character `?' matches any single character in acan't open file tabs

filename.  Thus

        echo ? ?? ???

will echo a line of filenames; first those with one  charac-
ter  names, then those with two character names, and finally
those with three character names.  The names of each  length
will be independently sorted.

     Another mechanism consists of a sequence of  characters
between  `['  and `]'.  This metasequence matches any single
character from the enclosed set.  Thus


will match

        prog.c prog.o

in the example above.  We  can  also  place  two  characters
around a `-' in this notation to denote a range.  Thus


might match files

        chap.1 chap.2 chap.3 chap.4 chap.5

if they existed.  This is shorthand for

                           - 9 -


and otherwise equivalent.

     An important point to note is that if a list  of  argu-
ment words to a command (an _a_r_g_u_m_e_n_t _l_i_s_t) contains filename
expansion syntax, and  if  this  filename  expansion  syntax
fails  to match any existing file names, then the shell con-
siders this to be an error and prints a diagnostic

        No match.

and does not execute the command.

     Another very important point is  that  files  with  the
character  `.' at the beginning are treated specially.  Nei-
ther `*' or `?' or the `['  `]'  mechanism  will  match  it.
This  prevents  accidental matching of the filenames `.' and
`..' in the working directory which have special meaning  to
the  system, as well as other files such as ._c_s_h_r_c which are
not normally visible.  We will discuss the special  role  of
the file ._c_s_h_r_c later.

     Another filename expansion mechanism  gives  access  to
the  pathname  of  the  _h_o_m_e directory of other users.  This
notation consists of the character `~' (tilde)  followed  by
another  users'  login  name.  For instance the word `~bill'
would map to the pathname `/usr/bill' if the home  directory
for  `bill' was `/usr/bill'.  Since, on large systems, users
may have login directories  scattered  over  many  different
disk  volumes  with  different  prefix directory names, this
notation provides a reliable way of accessing the  files  of
other users.

     A special case of  this  notation  consists  of  a  `~'
alone,  e.g.  `~/mbox'.   This  notation  is expanded by the
shell into the file `mbox' in your _h_o_m_e directory, i.e. into
`/usr/bill/mbox'  for  me  on Ernie Co-vax, the UCB Computer
Science Department VAX  machine,  where  this  document  was
prepared.   This  can  be very useful if you have used _c_d to
change to another directory and have found a file  you  wish
to copy using _c_p.  If I give the command

        cp thatfile ~

the shell will expand this command to

        cp thatfile /usr/bill

since my home directory is /usr/bill.

     There also exists a mechanism using the characters  `{'
and  `}'  for  abbreviating a set of words which have common
parts but cannot be  abbreviated  by  the  above  mechanisms

                           - 10 -

because  they are not files, are the names of files which do
not yet exist, are not thus  conveniently  described.   This
mechanism  will  be described much later, in section 4.2, as
it is used less frequently.

_1._7.  _Q_u_o_t_a_t_i_o_n

     We have already seen a number of metacharacters used by
the  shell.   These metacharacters pose a problem in that we
cannot use them directly as parts of words.  Thus  the  com-

        echo *

will not echo the character `*'.  It  will  either  echo  an
sorted  list  of filenames in the current _w_o_r_k_i_n_g _d_i_r_e_c_t_o_r_y,
or print the message `No match' if there are no files in the
working directory.

     The recommended mechanism for placing characters  which
are  neither numbers, digits, `/', `.' or `-' in an argument
word to a command is to enclose  it  with  single  quotation
characters `'', i.e.

        echo '*'

There is one special character `!' which is used by the _h_i_s_-
_t_o_r_y  mechanism  of the shell and which cannot be _e_s_c_a_p_e_d by
placing it within `'' characters.  It and the character  `''
itself can be preceded by a single `\' to prevent their spe-
cial meaning.  Thus

        echo \'\!



These two mechanisms suffice to place any printing character
into  a  word which is an argument to a shell command.  They
can be combined, as in

        echo \''*'

which prints


since the first `\' escaped the first `'' and  the  `*'  was
enclosed between `'' characters.

                           - 11 -

_1._8.  _T_e_r_m_i_n_a_t_i_n_g _c_o_m_m_a_n_d_s

     When you are executing a command and the shell is wait-
ing for it to complete there are several ways to force it to
stop.  For instance if you type the command

        cat /etc/passwd

the system will print a copy of a list of all users  of  the
system  on  your  terminal.   This is likely to continue for
several minutes unless you stop it.  You can send an  INTER-
RUPT  _s_i_g_n_a_l  to the _c_a_t command by typing the DEL or RUBOUT
key on your terminal.* Since _c_a_t does not take  any  precau-
tions to avoid or otherwise handle this signal the INTERRUPT
will cause it to terminate.  The shell notices that _c_a_t  has
terminated  and  prompts  you  again  with `% '.  If you hit
INTERRUPT again, the shell will just repeat its prompt since
it handles INTERRUPT signals and chooses to continue to exe-
cute commands rather than terminating like  _c_a_t  did,  which
would have the effect of logging you out.

     Another way in which many programs  terminate  is  when
they get an end-of-file from their standard input.  Thus the
_m_a_i_l program in the first example above was terminated  when
we  typed a |^D which generates an end-of-file from the stan-
dard input.  The shell also terminates when it gets an  end-
of-file  printing  `logout'; UNIX then logs you off the sys-
tem.  Since  this  means  that  typing  too  many  |^D's  can
accidentally  log  us  off,  the  shell  has a mechanism for
preventing this.  This _i_g_n_o_r_e_e_o_f option will be discussed in
section 2.2.

     If a command has its standard input redirected  from  a
file,  then  it  will normally terminate when it reaches the
end of this file.  Thus if we execute

        mail bill < prepared.text

the mail command will terminate without  our  typing  a  |^D.
This  is  because  it  read  to  the end-of-file of our file
`prepared.text' in which we placed a message for `bill' with
an editor program.  We could also have done

        cat prepared.text | mail bill

since the _c_a_t command  would  then  have  written  the  text
through  the pipe to the standard input of the mail command.
When the _c_a_t command completed  it  would  have  terminated,
closing  down  the  pipeline and the _m_a_i_l command would have
received an end-of-file from it  and  terminated.   Using  a
*Many users use _s_t_t_y(1) to change the interrupt charac-
ter to |^C.

                           - 12 -

pipe here is more complicated than redirecting input  so  we
would  more likely use the first form.  These commands could
also have been stopped by sending an INTERRUPT.

     Another  possibility  for  stopping  a  command  is  to
suspend  its  execution temporarily, with the possibility of
continuing execution later.  This is done by sending a  STOP
signal  via  typing  a  |^Z.  This signal causes all commands
running on the terminal (usually one but more if a  pipeline
is  executing)  to become suspended.  The shell notices that
the command(s) have been suspended, types `Stopped' and then
prompts for a new command.  The previously executing command
has been suspended, but otherwise  unaffected  by  the  STOP
signal.  Any other commands can be executed while the origi-
nal command remains suspended.  The suspended command can be
continued using the _f_g command with no arguments.  The shell
will then retype the command to remind you which command  is
being  continued, and cause the command to resume execution.
Unless any input files in use by the suspended command  have
been  changed  in the meantime, the suspension has no effect
whatsoever on the execution of the  command.   This  feature
can  be very useful during editing, when you need to look at
another  file  before  continuing.  An  example  of  command
suspension follows.

_2.  _D_e_t_a_i_l_s _o_n _t_h_e _s_h_e_l_l _f_o_r _t_e_r_m_i_n_a_l _u_s_e_r_s

_2._1.  _S_h_e_l_l _s_t_a_r_t_u_p _a_n_d _t_e_r_m_i_n_a_t_i_o_n

     When you login, the shell is started by the  system  in
your  _h_o_m_e  directory  and begins by reading commands from a
file ._c_s_h_r_c in this directory.  All  shells  which  you  may
start during your terminal session will read from this file.
We will later see what kinds of commands are usefully placed
there.   For  now  we  need not have this file and the shell
does not complain about its absence.

     A _l_o_g_i_n _s_h_e_l_l, executed after you login to the  system,
will,  after  it  reads  commands from ._c_s_h_r_c, read commands
from a file ._l_o_g_i_n also in your home directory.   This  file
contains  commands  which you wish to do each time you login
to the UNIX system.  My ._l_o_g_i_n file looks something like:

        set ignoreeof
        set mail=(/usr/spool/mail/bill)
        echo "${prompt}users" ; users
        alias ts \
                'set noglob ; eval `tset -s -m dialup:c100rv4pna -m plugboard:?hp2621nl *`';
        ts; stty intr |^C kill |^U crt
        set time=15 history=10
        msgs -f
        if (-e $mail) then
                echo "${prompt}mail"

     This file contains several commands to be  executed  by
UNIX each time I login.  The first is a _s_e_t command which is
interpreted directly by the shell.  It sets the shell  vari-
able _i_g_n_o_r_e_e_o_f which causes the shell to not log me off if I
hit |^D.  Rather, I use the _l_o_g_o_u_t command to log off of  the
system.   By  setting  the _m_a_i_l variable, I ask the shell to
watch for incoming mail to me.  Every 5  minutes  the  shell
looks  for  this  file and tells me if more mail has arrived
there.  An alternative to this is to put the command

        biff y

in place of this _s_e_t; this will  cause  me  to  be  notified
immediately when mail arrives, and to be shown the first few
lines of the new message.

     Next I set the shell variable `time'  to  `15'  causing
the  shell  to  automatically print out statistics lines for
commands which execute for at least 15 seconds of CPU  time.
The  variable  `history' is set to 10 indicating that I want
the shell to remember the last 10 commands  I  type  in  its
_h_i_s_t_o_r_y _l_i_s_t, (described later).

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 2 -

     I create an _a_l_i_a_s ``ts'' which executes a _t_s_e_t(1)  com-
mand  setting  up the modes of the terminal.  The parameters
to _t_s_e_t indicate the kinds of terminal which I  usually  use
when  not  on  a  hardwired port.  I then execute ``ts'' and
also use the _s_t_t_y command to change the interrupt  character
to |^C and the line kill character to |^U.

     I then run the `msgs' program, which provides  me  with
any  system  messages which I have not seen before; the `-f'
option here prevents it from telling me  anything  if  there
are  no  new  messages.  Finally, if my mailbox file exists,
then I run the `mail' program to process my mail.

     When the `mail' and `msgs' programs finish,  the  shell
will finish processing my ._l_o_g_i_n file and begin reading com-
mands from the terminal, prompting for each with `% '.  When
I  log  off  (by  giving  the _l_o_g_o_u_t command) the shell will
print `logout' and execute commands from the file  `.logout'
if  it  exists  in  my home directory.  After that the shell
will terminate and UNIX will log me off the system.  If  the
system  is  not  going down, I will receive a new login mes-
sage.  In any case, after the `logout' message the shell  is
committed to terminating and will take no further input from
my terminal.

_2._2.  _S_h_e_l_l _v_a_r_i_a_b_l_e_s

     The shell maintains a set of _v_a_r_i_a_b_l_e_s.  We  saw  above
the  variables  _h_i_s_t_o_r_y  and  _t_i_m_e which had values `10' and
`15'.  In fact, each shell variable has as value an array of
zero  or  more  _s_t_r_i_n_g_s.   Shell  variables  may be assigned
values by the set command.  It has several forms,  the  most
useful of which was given above and is

        set name=value

     Shell variables may be used to store values  which  are
to  be used in commands later through a substitution mechan-
ism.  The shell variables most commonly referenced are, how-
ever,  those  which the shell itself refers to.  By changing
the values of these variables one can  directly  affect  the
behavior of the shell.

     One of the most important  variables  is  the  variable
_p_a_t_h.   This variable contains a sequence of directory names
where the shell searches for commands.  The _s_e_t command with
no  arguments  shows  the  value  of all variables currently
defined (we usually say _s_e_t)  in  the  shell.   The  default
value for path will be shown by _s_e_t to be

                       March 11, 1984

_3.  _S_h_e_l_l _c_o_n_t_r_o_l _s_t_r_u_c_t_u_r_e_s _a_n_d _c_o_m_m_a_n_d _s_c_r_i_p_t_s

_3._1.  _I_n_t_r_o_d_u_c_t_i_o_n

     It is possible to place commands in files and to  cause
shells to be invoked to read and execute commands from these
files, which are called _s_h_e_l_l _s_c_r_i_p_t_s.  We here detail those
features of the shell useful to the writers of such scripts.

_3._2.  _M_a_k_e

     It is important to first note what  shell  scripts  are
_n_o_t  useful  for.   There  is a program called _m_a_k_e which is
very useful for maintaining a group of related files or per-
forming sets of operations on related files.  For instance a
large program consisting of one or more files can  have  its
dependencies  described in a _m_a_k_e_f_i_l_e which contains defini-
tions of the commands used to create these  different  files
when  changes  occur.  Definitions of the means for printing
listings, cleaning up  the  directory  in  which  the  files
reside,  and  installing  the resultant programs are easily,
and most appropriately placed in this _m_a_k_e_f_i_l_e.  This format
is  superior  and preferable to maintaining a group of shell
procedures to maintain these files.

     Similarly when working on a document a _m_a_k_e_f_i_l_e may  be
created which defines how different versions of the document
are to be created and which options of _n_r_o_f_f  or  _t_r_o_f_f  are

_3._3.  _I_n_v_o_c_a_t_i_o_n _a_n_d _t_h_e _a_r_g_v _v_a_r_i_a_b_l_e

     A _c_s_h command script may be interpreted by saying

        % csh script ...

where _s_c_r_i_p_t is the name of the file containing a  group  of
_c_s_h  commands  and  `...' is replaced by a sequence of argu-
ments.  The shell places these  arguments  in  the  variable
_a_r_g_v  and  then  begins  to  read  commands from the script.
These parameters are then available through the same mechan-
isms which are used to reference any other shell variables.

     If you make the file `script' executable by doing

        chmod 755 script

and place a shell comment at  the  beginning  of  the  shell
script  (i.e.  begin  the  file with a `#' character) then a
`/bin/csh' will automatically be invoked to execute `script'
when you type


                       March 11, 1984

                           - 2 -

If the file does not begin with  a  `#'  then  the  standard
shell `/bin/sh' will be used to execute it.  This allows you
to convert your older shell scripts to use _c_s_h at your  con-

_3._4.  _V_a_r_i_a_b_l_e _s_u_b_s_t_i_t_u_t_i_o_n

     After each input line is broken into words and  history
substitutions  are done on it, the input line is parsed into
distinct  commands.   Before  each  command  is  executed  a
mechanism  know  as  _v_a_r_i_a_b_l_e  _s_u_b_s_t_i_t_u_t_i_o_n is done on these
words.   Keyed  by  the  character  `$'  this   substitution
replaces the names of variables by their values.  Thus

        echo $argv

when placed in a command  script  would  cause  the  current
value of the variable _a_r_g_v to be echoed to the output of the
shell script.  It is an error for _a_r_g_v to be unset  at  this

     A number of notations are provided for  accessing  com-
ponents and attributes of variables.  The notation


expands to `1' if name is _s_e_t or to `0' if name is not  _s_e_t.
It  is  the  fundamental mechanism used for checking whether
particular variables have been assigned values.   All  other
forms of reference to undefined variables cause errors.

     The notation


expands to the number of  elements  in  the  variable  _n_a_m_e.

        % set argv=(a b c)
        % echo $?argv
        % echo $#argv
        % unset argv
        % echo $?argv
        % echo $argv
        Undefined variable: argv.

     It is also possible to access the components of a vari-
able which has several values.  Thus

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 3 -


gives the first component of _a_r_g_v or in  the  example  above
`a'.  Similarly


would give `c', and


would give `a b'. Other notations useful  in  shell  scripts


where _n is an integer as a shorthand for


the _n_t_h parameter and


which is a shorthand for


The form


expands to the process number of the current  shell.   Since
this  process  number is unique in the system it can be used
in generation of unique temporary file names.  The form


is quite special and is replaced by the next line  of  input
read  from  the shell's standard input (not the script it is
reading).  This is useful for writing shell scripts that are
interactive,  reading  commands  from  the terminal, or even
writing a shell script that acts as a filter, reading  lines
from its input file. Thus the sequence

        echo 'yes or no?\c'
        set a=($<)

would write out the prompt `yes or no?'  without  a  newline
and  then  read  the  answer into the variable `a'.  In this
case `$#a' would be `0' if either a blank  line  or  end-of-
file (|^D) was typed.

     One minor difference between `$_n' and `$argv[_n]' should

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 4 -

be noted here.  The form `$argv[_n]' will yield an error if _n
is not in the range `1-$#argv' while `$n' will  never  yield
an  out of range subscript error.  This is for compatibility
with the way older shells handled parameters.

     Another important point is that it is never an error to
give  a  subrange of the form `n-'; if there are less than _n
components of the given variable then no words  are  substi-
tuted.   A range of the form `m-n' likewise returns an empty
vector without giving an error when _m exceeds the number  of
elements  of the given variable, provided the subscript _n is
in range.

_3._5.  _E_x_p_r_e_s_s_i_o_n_s

     In order for  interesting  shell  scripts  to  be  con-
structed  it must be possible to evaluate expressions in the
shell based on the values of variables.  In  fact,  all  the
arithmetic operations of the language C are available in the
shell with the same precedence that they have in C.  In par-
ticular,  the  operations  `==' and `!=' compare strings and
the operators `&&' and `||'  implement  the  boolean  and/or
operations.  The special operators `=~' and `!~' are similar
to `==' and `!=' except that the string on  the  right  side
can  have  pattern matching characters (like *, ? or []) and
the test is whether the string on the left matches the  pat-
tern on the right.

     The shell also allows file enquiries of the form

        -? filename

where `?' is replace by a number of single characters.   For
instance the expression primitive

        -e filename

tell whether the file `filename' exists.   Other  primitives
test for read, write and execute access to the file, whether
it is a directory, or has non-zero length.

     It is possible to test  whether  a  command  terminates
normally,  by  a  primitive  of the form `{ command }' which
returns true, i.e. `1' if the command succeeds exiting  nor-
mally  with  exit status 0, or `0' if the command terminates
abnormally or with exit status non-zero.  If  more  detailed
information  about  the  execution  status  of  a command is
required, it can be  executed  and  the  variable  `$status'
examined  in  the  next  command.  Since `$status' is set by
every command, it is very transient.  It can be saved if  it
is  inconvenient  to  use  it only in the single immediately
following command.

     For a full list of expression components available  see

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 5 -

the manual section for the shell.

_3._6.  _S_a_m_p_l_e _s_h_e_l_l _s_c_r_i_p_t

     A sample shell script which makes use of the expression
mechanism  of  the  shell  and some of its control structure

        % cat copyc
        # Copyc copies those C programs in the specified list
        # to the directory ~/backup if they differ from the files
        # already in ~/backup
        set noglob
        foreach i ($argv)

                if ($i !~ *.c) continue  # not a .c file so do nothing

                if (! -r ~/backup/$i:t) then
                        echo $i:t not in backup... not cp\'ed

                cmp -s $i ~/backup/$i:t # to set $status

                if ($status != 0) then
                        echo new backup of $i
                        cp $i ~/backup/$i:t

     This script makes use of  the  _f_o_r_e_a_c_h  command,  which
causes the shell to execute the commands between the _f_o_r_e_a_c_h
and the matching _e_n_d for each of the  values  given  between
`(' and `)' with the named variable, in this case `i' set to
successive values in the list.  Within this loop we may  use
the command _b_r_e_a_k to stop executing the loop and _c_o_n_t_i_n_u_e to
prematurely terminate one  iteration  and  begin  the  next.
After  the  _f_o_r_e_a_c_h  loop  the iteration variable (_i in this
case) has the value at the last iteration.

     We set the variable _n_o_g_l_o_b  here  to  prevent  filename
expansion  of  the members of _a_r_g_v.  This is a good idea, in
general, if the arguments to a shell  script  are  filenames
which  have  already  been  expanded or if the arguments may
contain filename expansion metacharacters.  It is also  pos-
sible  to  quote  each  use of a `$' variable expansion, but
this is harder and less reliable.

     The other control construct used here is a statement of
the form

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 6 -

        if ( expression ) then

The placement of the keywords here is _n_o_t  flexible  due  to
the current implementation of the shell.

     The shell does have another form of the if statement of
the form

        if ( expression ) command

which can be written

        if ( expression ) \

Here we have escaped the newline for the sake of appearance.
The command must not involve `|', `&' or `;' and must not be
another control command.  The second form requires the final
`\' to _i_m_m_e_d_i_a_t_e_l_y precede the end-of-line.

     The more general  _i_f  statements  above  also  admit  a
sequence  of  _e_l_s_e-_i_f pairs followed by a single _e_l_s_e and an
_e_n_d_i_f, e.g.:

        if ( expression ) then
        else if (expression ) then


     Another important mechanism used in  shell  scripts  is
the  `:'  modifier.   We  can  use the modifier `:r' here to
The following two formats are not currently  acceptable
to the shell:

     if ( expression )               # Won't work!


     if ( expression ) then command endif            # Won't work

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 7 -

extract a root of a filename or `:e' to extract  the  _e_x_t_e_n_-
_s_i_o_n.   Thus  if the variable _i has the value `/mnt/'

     % echo $i $i:r $i:e
     /mnt/ /mnt/foo bar

shows how the `:r' modifier strips off the  trailing  `.bar'
and  the  the  `:e'  modifier  leaves only the `bar'.  Other
modifiers will take off the last  component  of  a  pathname
leaving  the  head  `:h'  or all but the last component of a
pathname leaving the tail `:t'.  These modifiers  are  fully
described in the _c_s_h manual pages in the programmers manual.
It is also possible to use the _c_o_m_m_a_n_d _s_u_b_s_t_i_t_u_t_i_o_n  mechan-
ism described in the next major section to perform modifica-
tions on strings to then  reenter  the  shells  environment.
Since  each usage of this mechanism involves the creation of
a new process, it is much more expensive to use than the `:'
modification mechanism.# Finally, we note that the character
`#'  lexically  introduces  a shell comment in shell scripts
(but not from the terminal).  All subsequent  characters  on
the input line after a `#' are discarded by the shell.  This
character can be quoted using `'' or `\' to place it  in  an
argument word.

_3._7.  _O_t_h_e_r _c_o_n_t_r_o_l _s_t_r_u_c_t_u_r_e_s

     The shell also has control structures _w_h_i_l_e and  _s_w_i_t_c_h
similar to those of C.  These take the forms

        while ( expression )


#It is also important to note that the  current  imple-
mentation  of the shell limits the number of `:' modif-
iers on a `$' substitution to 1.  Thus

     % echo $i $i:h:t
     /a/b/c /a/b:t

does not do what one would expect.

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 8 -

        switch ( word )

        case str1:


        case strn:



For details see the manual section for _c_s_h.   C  programmers
should  note that we use _b_r_e_a_k_s_w to exit from a _s_w_i_t_c_h while
_b_r_e_a_k exits a _w_h_i_l_e or _f_o_r_e_a_c_h loop.  A  common  mistake  to
make  in  _c_s_h scripts is to use _b_r_e_a_k rather than _b_r_e_a_k_s_w in

     Finally, _c_s_h allows a _g_o_t_o statement, with labels look-
ing like they do in C, i.e.:

                goto loop

_3._8.  _S_u_p_p_l_y_i_n_g _i_n_p_u_t _t_o _c_o_m_m_a_n_d_s

     Commands run from shell scripts receive by default  the
standard  input  of  the  shell which is running the script.
This is different from previous shells running  under  UNIX.
It  allows  shell scripts to fully participate in pipelines,
but mandates extra notation for commands which are  to  take
inline data.

     Thus we need a metanotation for supplying  inline  data
to  commands in shell scripts.  As an example, consider this
script which runs the editor to delete leading  blanks  from
the lines in each argument file

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 9 -

        % cat deblank
        # deblank -- remove leading blanks
        foreach i ($argv)
        ed - $i << 'EOF'
        1,$s/|^[ ]*//

The notation `<< 'EOF'' means that the  standard  input  for
the  _e_d command is to come from the text in the shell script
file up to the next line consisting of exactly `'EOF''.  The
fact  that  the  `EOF'  is  enclosed in `'' characters, i.e.
quoted, causes the shell to not perform  variable  substitu-
tion  on  the intervening lines.  In general, if any part of
the word following the `<<' which the  shell  uses  to  ter-
minate  the  text  to be given to the command is quoted then
these substitutions will not be  performed.   In  this  case
since  we used the form `1,$' in our editor script we needed
to insure that this `$' was not  variable  substituted.   We
could  also have insured this by preceding the `$' here with
a `\', i.e.:

        1,\$s/|^[ ]*//

but quoting the `EOF' terminator is a more reliable  way  of
achieving the same thing.

_3._9.  _C_a_t_c_h_i_n_g _i_n_t_e_r_r_u_p_t_s

     If our shell script creates  temporary  files,  we  may
wish  to  catch interruptions of the shell script so that we
can clean up these files.  We can then do

        onintr label

where _l_a_b_e_l is a label in our program.  If an  interrupt  is
received  the shell will do a `goto label' and we can remove
the temporary files and then do an _e_x_i_t  command  (which  is
built in to the shell) to exit from the shell script.  If we
wish to exit with a non-zero status we can do


e.g. to exit with status `1'.

_3._1_0.  _W_h_a_t _e_l_s_e?

     There are other features of the shell useful to writers
of  shell  procedures.  The _v_e_r_b_o_s_e and _e_c_h_o options and the
related -_v and -_x command line options can be used  to  help
trace  the  actions  of the shell.  The -_n option causes the

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 10 -

shell only to read commands and not to execute them and  may
sometimes be of use.

     One other thing to note is that _c_s_h  will  not  execute
shell  scripts  which  do  not begin with the character `#',
that is shell scripts that do  not  begin  with  a  comment.
Similarly,  the  `/bin/sh'  on your system may well defer to
`csh' to interpret shell scripts which begin with `#'.  This
allows shell scripts for both shells to live in harmony.

     There is also another  quotation  mechanism  using  `"'
which  allows  only some of the expansion mechanisms we have
so far discussed to occur on the quoted string and serves to
make this string into a single word as `'' does.

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 11 -

_4.  _O_t_h_e_r, _l_e_s_s _c_o_m_m_o_n_l_y _u_s_e_d, _s_h_e_l_l _f_e_a_t_u_r_e_s

_4._1.  _L_o_o_p_s _a_t _t_h_e _t_e_r_m_i_n_a_l; _v_a_r_i_a_b_l_e_s _a_s _v_e_c_t_o_r_s

     It is occasionally useful to use  the  _f_o_r_e_a_c_h  control
structure  at  the terminal to aid in performing a number of
similar commands.  For instance, there  were  at  one  point
three  shells  in  use on the Cory UNIX system at Cory Hall,
`/bin/sh', `/bin/nsh', and `/bin/csh'.  To count the  number
of  persons  using each shell one could have issued the com-

        % grep -c csh$ /etc/passwd
        % grep -c nsh$ /etc/passwd
        % grep -c -v sh$ /etc/passwd

Since these commands are very similar we can use _f_o_r_e_a_c_h  to
do this more easily.

        % foreach i ('sh$' 'csh$' '-v sh$')
        ? grep -c $i /etc/passwd
        ? end

Note here that the shell prompts for input with  `?  '  when
reading the body of the loop.

     Very useful with  loops  are  variables  which  contain
lists of filenames or other words.  You can, for example, do

        % set a=(`ls`)
        % echo $a
        csh.n csh.rm
        % ls
        % echo $#a

The _s_e_t command here gave the variable _a a list of  all  the
filenames  in  the  current directory as value.  We can then
iterate over these names to perform any chosen function.

     The output of a command within ``' characters  is  con-
verted  by the shell to a list of words.  You can also place
the ``' quoted string within `"'  characters  to  take  each

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                           - 2 -

(non-empty)  line as a component of the variable; preventing
the lines from being split into words at blanks and tabs.  A
modifier  `:x' exists which can be used later to expand each
component of the variable into another variable splitting it
into separate words at embedded blanks and tabs.

_4._2.  _B_r_a_c_e_s { ... } _i_n _a_r_g_u_m_e_n_t _e_x_p_a_n_s_i_o_n

     Another form of filename expansion, alluded  to  before
involves  the  characters  `{'  and  `}'.   These characters
specify that the contained strings, separated by `,' are  to
be  consecutively substituted into the containing characters
and the results expanded left to right.  Thus


expands to

        Astr1B Astr2B ... AstrnB

This expansion occurs before the other filename  expansions,
and  may  be applied recursively (i.e. nested).  The results
of each expanded string are sorted separately, left to right
order  being  preserved.   The  resulting  filenames are not
required to exist if no other expansion mechanisms are used.
This means that this mechanism can be used to generate argu-
ments which are not filenames, but which have common parts.

     A typical use of this would be

        mkdir ~/{hdrs,retrofit,csh}

to make subdirectories `hdrs', `retrofit' and `csh' in  your
home directory.  This mechanism is most useful when the com-
mon prefix is longer than in this example, i.e.

        chown root /usr/{ucb/{ex,edit},lib/{ex?.?*,how_ex}}

_4._3.  _C_o_m_m_a_n_d _s_u_b_s_t_i_t_u_t_i_o_n

     A command enclosed in ``' characters is replaced,  just
before  filenames are expanded, by the output from that com-
mand.  Thus it is possible to do

        set pwd=`pwd`

to save the current directory in the variable _p_w_d or to do

        ex `grep -l TRACE *.c`

to run the editor _e_x  supplying  as  arguments  those  files
whose  names  end  in  `.c' which have the string `TRACE' in
*Command expansion also occurs in input redirected with

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 3 -

_4._4.  _O_t_h_e_r _d_e_t_a_i_l_s _n_o_t _c_o_v_e_r_e_d _h_e_r_e

     In particular circumstances it may be necessary to know
the  exact  nature and order of different substitutions per-
formed by the shell.  The exact meaning of certain  combina-
tions  of  quotations is also occasionally important.  These
are detailed fully in its manual section.

     The shell has a number of  command  line  option  flags
mostly  of use in writing UNIX programs, and debugging shell
scripts.  See the shells manual section for a list of  these

`<<'  and  within  `"'  quotations.  Refer to the shell
manual section for full details.

                       March 11, 1984

                           - 4 -

_A_p_p_e_n_d_i_x - _S_p_e_c_i_a_l _c_h_a_r_a_c_t_e_r_s

The following table lists the special characters of _c_s_h  and
the  UNIX system, giving for each the section(s) in which it
is discussed.  A number of these characters also  have  spe-
cial meaning in expressions.  See the _c_s_h manual section for
a complete list.

Syntactic metacharacters

        ;       2.4     separates commands to be executed sequentially
        |       1.5     separates commands in a pipeline
        ( )     2.2,3.6 brackets expressions and variable values
        &       2.5     follows commands to be executed without waiting for completion

Filename metacharacters

        /       1.6     separates components of a file's pathname
        ?       1.6     expansion character matching any single character
        *       1.6     expansion character matching any sequence of characters
        [ ]     1.6     expansion sequence matching any single character from a set
        ~       1.6     used at the beginning of a filename to indicate home directories
        { }     4.2     used to specify groups of arguments with common parts

Quotation metacharacters

        \       1.7     prevents meta-meaning of following single character
        '       1.7     prevents meta-meaning of a group of characters
        "       4.3     like ', but allows variable and command expansion

Input/output metacharacters

        <       1.5     indicates redirected input
        >       1.3     indicates redirected output

Expansion/substitution metacharacters

        $       3.4     indicates variable substitution
        !       2.3     indicates history substitution
        :       3.6     precedes substitution modifiers
        |^       2.3     used in special forms of history substitution
        `       4.3     indicates command substitution

Other metacharacters

        #       1.3,3.6 begins scratch file names; indicates shell comments
        -       1.2     prefixes option (flag) arguments to commands
        %       2.6     prefixes job

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