How to identify shell builtins, aliases and executable files on Linux systems

How to identify shell builtins, aliases and executable files on Linux systems

Shell builtins are commands that are loaded into memory when a shell — such as bash, sh, or zsh — is invoked. The reason for this is that keeping these commands in memory helps ensure that these commands will be run very efficiently whenever someone uses them. They run faster because they don’t have to first be loaded into memory. They’re “built in.”

Determining whether commands that you use are builtins, aliases, or executable files on your system that are loaded as needed requires the use of several interesting commands. These include type, which, and compgen. So, let’s take a look at how these commands work and what they can tell us.

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