Bash source Command: $0 Can Not Determine Its Own Location

Posted on in Categories last updated May 13, 2012

The source command read and execute commands from a file. My script source a script called But, script can not determine it’s own location using $0. By default, $0 gives parent script location. How do I find out a script that is sourced at the command line can determine it’s own location? My sample script:

# /var/www/html/java/tasks/ 
# I want /var/www/html/java/tasks in _currentdir 
echo "${_currentdir}"

When I run from



source /var/www/html/java/tasks/

The $_currentdir is set to be the directory where lives which is in /root/scripts/java/helper or . (current) directory. How do I fix this problem?

How to: create a temporary file securely

Posted on in Categories , , last updated November 30, 2007

Q. How do I create a temporary file securely under UNIX Bash shell?

A. There are many ways:
[a] mktemp command – make temporary unique filename

[b] $RANDOM – Use $RANDOM variable

mktemp command

From the man page:

The mktemp utility takes the given filename template and overwrites a portion of it to create a unique filename. The template may be any filename with some number of ‘Xs’ appended to it, for example /tmp/tfile.XXXXXXXXXX.

For example, create a temporary file:
$ mktemp /tmp/output.XXXXXXXXXX


Send ls command output to /tmp/output.qBYDtF7199:
$ ls > /tmp/output.qBYDtF7199
However, you may need to store temporary file name /tmp/output.qBYDtF7199 to a shell variable:
TMPFILE=$(mktemp /tmp/output.XXXXXXXXXX)

Create a temporary directory

The -d option makes a directory instead of a file.
TMPDIR=$(mktemp -d /tmp/output.XXXXXXXXXX)
# do something

Another example:

TMPFILE=‘mktemp -t /tmp/out.myapp.XXXXXXXXXX‘ && {
    # Safe to use $TMPFILE in this block
    echo data > $TMPFILE
   # do something
   # clean up
    rm -f $TMPFILE

Using $RANDOM variable

Bash also provide $RANDOM variable with random value, you can use the same to create a file or directory:

# create directory
mkdir $TEMDIR
# do something...