KSH For Loop Examples

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Q. How do I use for loop in Korn Shell under UNIX / Linux / BSD / OS X operating systems?

A.The main advantage of ksh over the traditional Unix shell is in its use as a programming language. KSH support for loop.

KSH Scripting: for loop syntax

The syntax is as follows:

for {Variable} in {lists}
do
	echo ${Variable}
done

Here is sample shell script to print welcome message 5 times:

#!/bin/ksh
for i in 1 2 3 4 5
do
  echo "Welcome $i times"
done

Run script as follows:
$ chmod +x script.ksh
$ ./script.ksh

OR
$ ksh script.ksh
You can easily set ranges (1 to 10) as follows:

#!/bin/ksh
for i in {1..10}
do
  echo "Welcome $i times"
done

You can also use variables to define the item list. They will be checked ONLY ONCE, when you start the loop.

#!/bin/ksh
files="/etc/passwd /etc/group /etc/hosts"
for f in $files; do
	if [ ! -f $f ]
	then
 		echo "$f file missing!"
	fi
done

Please do NOT quote “$list”, if you want the for command to use multiple items.
Another example using for explicit list:

#!/bin/ksh
for car in bmw ford toyota nissan
   do
   print "Value of car is: $car"
done

KSH For Loop Command Substitution

Create a text file called spaceshuttles.txt as follows:

columbia
endeavour
challenger
discovery
atlantis
enterprise
pathfinder

Now create a shell script called demo.ksh

#!/bin/ksh
for shuttle in $(cat  spaceshuttles.txt)
do
        print "Current Space Shuttle : $shuttle"
done

You can also print file names in /tmp directory:

#!/bin/ksh
for f in $(ls /tmp/*)
do
        print "Full file path  in /tmp dir : $f"
done

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

20 comment

  1. I don’t understand why you say that does not work :

    #!/bin/ksh

    # Nettoyage du contenu du fichier et suppression des derniers PDFs cree
    >listePdfs.txt
    cd /opt/filenet/temp_batch/800000PDFs
    rm -rf *.pdf

    for i in {1..1000}
    do
    echo “$i”
    cp 0.src $i.pdf
    echo “$i $i.pdf” >> listePdfs.txt
    done

    This programme work

  2. Hi Tried this using ksh, [Unix : SunOS 5.10 ]
    and the output of {1..10}is
    ksh Output : Welcome {1..10} times
    , however when I change ksh to bash it
    executes as expected.

  3. The reason is that KSH does not really exist in Linux. If you look, then ksh is a symlink to bash. In Linux if you want to use really ksh, you have to download pdksh = Public Domain KSH.

    In Solaris however it is a different story. There ksh is one shell and bash another one.

  4. What if you have 5 or 6 files, specific files .biz in a directory and you want to store them one at the time in a variable $mirage, and want to process $mirage until no more .biz file are found.
    How will you modify the script accordingly

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