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FreeBSD Install BASH Shell

I would like to Bash shell under FreeBSD for bash programming. How do I install bash shell under FreeBSD UNIX operating system?

Bash is an sh-compatible command language interpreter that executes commands read from the standard input or from a file. csh / tcsh (C shell with file name completion and command line editing) is the default shell under FreeBSD. However, you can easily install and use bash as shell.

Install bash under a FreeBSD unix

Login as root and type any one of the following commands to install bash. On a newer version of FreeBSD use the following command (recommended method):
# pkg install bash
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: Howto Install BASH in FreeBSD using pkg Command

Fig.01: Howto Install BASH in FreeBSD using pkg Command

To install FreeBSD binary package, enter (older version/method):
# pkg_add -r bash
Or to install the port:
# portsnap update extract
# cd /usr/ports/shells/bash
# make install clean

How do I use bash shell under my FreeBSD based system?

To use bash shell, enter:
# bash
# /usr/local/bin/bash


The GNU bash requires fdescfs (file-descriptor file system) mounted on /dev/fd. To mount it auotmatically type the following command to update /etc/fstab file on FreeBSD:

echo "fdesc	/dev/fd		fdescfs		rw	0	0" >> /etc/fstab

How do I set bash as a default shell?

To set bash as default, shell enter:
# chsh -s /usr/local/bin/bash {username}
# chsh -s /usr/local/bin/bash vivek
# chsh -s bash

Verify that bash is default shell for a user account called vivek, enter:
grep vivek /etc/passwd

egrep --color 'vivek|zsh' /etc/passwd

finger vivek
Sample outputs:

Login: vivek          			Name: Vivek Gite
Directory: /home/vivek              	Shell: /usr/local/bin/bash
On since Tue May  8 02:15 (IST) on pts/0 from
No Mail.
No Plan.
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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • duzap May 22, 2009, 8:12 am

    This was very usefull for me, thank you.

  • matt November 22, 2009, 6:43 pm


    Just trying out freebsd, and the first thing I noticed was there was no bash!

  • Nazar August 4, 2010, 1:00 am

    Thanks a lot! Very clearly written and useful!

  • DJNeo August 5, 2010, 2:14 am

    Very usefull,10x alot!!!

  • George December 14, 2010, 12:09 pm

    Thanks a lot! Exactly what I needed!

  • Chuck Moyes March 22, 2011, 8:50 pm

    I think the portsnap part (updating the system port tree) needs clarification.

    From the FreeBSD Handbook:

    First run:
    # portsnap fetch
    to download a new port tree from the Internet.

    If you haven’t run portsnap before (first time updating after new installation):
    # portsnap extract

    Then always run:
    # portsnap update

    FreeBSD complained about running update before extract when I tried doing what the guide on this web page said to do. Let me know if I’m misinterpreting something.

  • Rui March 28, 2011, 10:46 pm

    Thank you!!!:)

  • Alex June 10, 2012, 10:27 am

    Thanks a lot! Just used it. =)

  • Uwe September 24, 2012, 8:25 pm

    Thank you for this post. It was very useful for me!

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