Which Unix Command


Unix commands are the backbone of any Unix-based operating system. They provide a way for users to interact with the system and perform various tasks. In this article, I will dive deep into the world of Unix commands and discuss one specific command that I find particularly useful and intriguing.

Introducing the “which” Command

One command that I frequently find myself using is the “which” command. This command is used to locate the executable file associated with a given command. It essentially tells you the absolute path of a command, helping you understand which version of the command will be executed when you run it.

For example, let’s say I want to know the location of the “python” command on my system. By simply typing “which python” in the terminal, I can immediately find out the exact path of the executable file for the Python interpreter. This can be particularly useful if you have multiple versions of a command installed and want to ensure that you’re using the correct one.

Another use case for the “which” command is when you’re troubleshooting an issue and need to check if a certain command is available on your system. By running “which” followed by the command’s name, you can quickly determine if the command is present and accessible.

Furthermore, the “which” command can be used in shell scripts to ensure that the necessary commands are available before proceeding with the execution of the script. This can help prevent errors and unexpected behavior caused by missing commands.

Benefits of the “which” Command

One of the main benefits of the “which” command is its simplicity and ease of use. It provides a straightforward way to locate executable files without having to manually search through directories or consult documentation.

Additionally, the “which” command can save you time and frustration by helping you avoid running outdated or incorrect versions of commands. By knowing the exact path of the executable file, you can ensure that you’re using the intended version and avoid any compatibility issues.

Moreover, the “which” command is not limited to just built-in commands. It can also locate commands installed from third-party sources or custom scripts, making it a versatile tool for any Unix user.


The “which” command is a valuable tool in the Unix world, providing a simple and efficient way to locate executable files. Whether you’re trying to determine the exact path of a command, troubleshooting an issue, or ensuring the availability of commands in a script, the “which” command can be a reliable companion.

So the next time you find yourself wondering “which” version of a command will be executed, remember to turn to the “which” command for a quick and accurate answer.