Q. Can you explain the exit status of shell and commands under Linux / UNIX operating system?
A. All UNIX and Linux command has a several parameters or variables that can be use to find out the exit status of command. Please note that these parameters or variables may only be referenced assignment to them is not allowed. You can use $? to find out the exit status of command. $? always expands to the status of the most recently executed foreground command or pipeline. For example, you run the command cal:
Now to see exit status of cal command type following command:
$ echo $?
Zero means command executed successfully, if exit status returns non-zero value then your command failed to execute. For example run command called cyberciti
bash: cyberciti: command not found
Display exit status of the command:
$ echo $?
Value 127 (non-zero) indicates command cyberciti failed to execute. You can use exit status in shell scripting too. You can store result of exit status in variable. Consider following shell script:
#!/bin/bash echo -n "Enter user name : " read USR cut -d: -f1 /etc/passwd | grep "$USR" > /dev/null OUT=$? if [ $OUT -eq 0 ];then echo "User account found!" else echo "User account does not exists in /etc/passwd file!" fi
Save and execute the script as follows:
$ chmod +x script.sh
Enter user name : jradmin User account does not exists in /etc/passwd file
Try it one more time:
Enter user name : vivek User account found
As you can see, I have used grep command to find out user name stored in USR variable. If grep command finds user name in /etc/passwd command output it would return exit status of zero. This is stored in OUT variable. Next, if command makes decision based upon exit status stored in OUT variable.