Am I Using Bash Or Zsh

Shell Programming

Have you ever wondered which shell you are using on your command line? As a tech enthusiast and avid command-line user, I have found myself in this very situation. In this article, I will guide you through the process of determining whether you are using Bash or Zsh.

Determining Your Shell

To find out which shell you are currently using, you can use the following command:

$ echo $0

When you run this command, it will display the name of the shell that is currently active in your terminal. Usually, the output will be either /bin/bash or /bin/zsh.

Alternatively, you can also use the following command to check the default shell for your user:

$ echo $SHELL

This command will display the path to the default shell that is set for your user account. Again, the output will typically be either /bin/bash or /bin/zsh.

Bash – The Classic Shell

Bash, short for Bourne Again SHell, is a popular shell that has been around for many years. It is the default shell for most Linux distributions and macOS. If you are a long-time user of the command line, chances are you have been using Bash.

Bash is known for its simplicity and ease of use. It provides a wide range of features and functionalities, making it a powerful tool for both beginners and advanced users. With Bash, you can write shell scripts to automate tasks, customize your command prompt, and take advantage of various command-line utilities.

However, while Bash is a great shell, it does have its limitations. Some users find its configuration options lacking or its scripting language less powerful compared to other shells like Zsh.

Zsh – The Powerful Alternative

Zsh, short for Z Shell, is another popular shell that has gained popularity in recent years. It is known for its extensive customization options and powerful scripting capabilities. Many developers and power users prefer Zsh for its advanced features and improved user experience.

With Zsh, you can take advantage of features like tab completion, spelling correction, and advanced command-line editing. It also has a powerful plugin system that allows you to extend its functionality and customize your shell environment to suit your needs.

One notable feature of Zsh is its interactive completion system, which offers suggestions as you type commands. This can greatly improve your productivity and efficiency when working on the command line.

If you are interested in trying out Zsh, you can install it on your system and set it as your default shell. Many Linux distributions and macOS provide packages for Zsh, making it easy to install. However, keep in mind that changing your default shell may require additional configuration and adjustment of your shell environment.


So, are you using Bash or Zsh? By running the echo $0 or echo $SHELL command, you can determine which shell is currently active in your terminal. Both Bash and Zsh have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them ultimately comes down to personal preference and specific use cases. Regardless of which shell you choose, the command line remains a powerful tool for navigating and interacting with your computer.