Is Zsh A Bash Or Bourne Variant

Shell Programming

As a tech enthusiast and developer, I’ve often found myself exploring different shell options to improve my workflow. One of the shells that has captured my attention is Zsh, also known as Z shell. In this article, I’ll delve into the question: Is Zsh a bash or bourne variant?

Zsh: A Brief Overview

Zsh is a powerful shell that has gained popularity among developers and power users due to its extensive customization options and advanced features. It is often considered an extended Bourne shell with many improvements, making it a versatile and efficient option for command-line enthusiasts.

Bash vs. Bourne Shell

Before we dive into the specifics of Zsh, let’s clarify the differences between Bash and the Bourne shell. Bash, or the Bourne Again Shell, is an enhanced version of the original Bourne shell. While both are compatible with the POSIX standard, Bash includes additional features such as command-line editing, interactive history, and more advanced scripting capabilities.

Zsh: A Bash or Bourne Variant?

Zsh is not a variant of Bash or the original Bourne shell; instead, it is a shell with its own unique design and functionality. While it shares some similarities with both Bash and the Bourne shell, Zsh has its own distinct syntax and features that set it apart. It incorporates features from various shells, including enhanced tab completion, spelling correction, and powerful globbing capabilities.

Key Features of Zsh

  • Customization: Zsh offers extensive customization options, allowing users to configure their shell environment to suit their specific needs.
  • Plugin Support: Zsh supports a rich ecosystem of plugins and themes, making it highly extensible and adaptable to different use cases.
  • Advanced Tab Completion: The advanced tab completion in Zsh makes navigating the command line and completing complex commands a breeze.
  • Powerful Scripting: Zsh provides powerful scripting capabilities, allowing users to write complex scripts and automate tasks efficiently.

Personal Commentary

Having used Zsh extensively in my own workflow, I can attest to its capabilities and the significant productivity improvements it brings. The advanced tab completion alone has saved me countless hours, especially when working with large codebases and complex command structures. The ability to customize my shell environment to match my preferences has also been a game-changer.


While Zsh is not a bash or bourne variant, it stands out as a powerful and versatile shell in its own right. Its extensive feature set and customization options make it a compelling choice for developers and power users looking to optimize their command-line experience. Whether you’re a seasoned command-line aficionado or just getting started, exploring Zsh can open up a world of possibilities for streamlining your workflow.