The A-Z of Programming Languages: BASH/Bourne-Again Shell

When the Bourne Shell found its identity

In your opinion, what lasting legacy has Bash brought to the web?

I think Bash's legacy is as a solid piece of infrastructure, and the shell making millions of Linux, Mac OS X, and Solaris systems work every day.

As I recall, it was one of the first couple of programs Linus Torvalds made run on his early Linux kernels.

Where do you envisage Bash's future lying?

Bash will continue to evolve as both an interactive environment and a programming language. I'd like to add more features that allow interested users to extend the shell in novel ways. The programmable completion system is an example of that kind of extension.

Bash's evolution has always been user-driven, so it will ultimately be up to the feature requests that come in.

Where do you see computer programming languages heading in the future, particularly in the next five to 20 years?

I see increased dynamism, allowing programmers to do more and more complex things on the fly, especially over the Web. The advances in hardware allow interpreted code to run faster today than compiled code on some systems available when I started work on Bash.

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming programmers?

Find an area that interests you and get involved with an existing community. There are free software projects in just about any area of programming.

The nuts-and-bolts -- which language you use, what programming environment you use, where you do your work -- are not as important as the passion and interest you bring to the work itself.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add?

The free software community is still as vibrant today, maybe even more so, than when I first became involved. There is still a lot of room for significant contributions; all it takes is an interested person with a good idea.

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Tags a-z of programming languages

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Naomi Hamilton

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