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Cover for Bite Size Bash!

Bite Size Bash!

bash is a very weird programming language.

$ x = 2
x: command not found

Variable assignment is weird, it’s hard to quote things, if statements run programs instead of checking a boolean value, its default error handling feels like it’s designed to cause catastophic bugs, and that’s just the beginning.

And despite it being so weird, it’s everywhere! We use shell scripts all the time to configure servers and run our builds. So you end up frantically googling bash facts in an emergency when your test suite breaks because it was held together by a bash script that nobody on your team understands.

But bash has one thing going for it: it doesn’t change much. Bash scripts today are pretty much exactly the same as they were 15 years ago. So if you take the time today to learn the weird way bash works, everything you learn will still be true in 10 years.

And there aren’t that many weird facts about bash you need to learn to be able to understand & change most bash scripts with confidence. If you learn everything in this zine you’ll be way more comfortable with bash scripting than most programmers :).

I want this!


  • Cover art by Vladimir Kašiković
  • Editing by Dolly Lanuza, and Kamal Marhubi
  • Copy Editing by Courtney Johnson
  • and thanks to all 11 beta readers <3

Commonly asked questions:

what's a zine?

According to Wikipedia:

A fanzine (blend of fan and magazine or -zine) is a non-professional and non-official publication produced by enthusiasts of a particular cultural phenomenon (such as a literary or musical genre) for the pleasure of others who share their interest.

The zines on this site are usually about 20 pages, and they’re full of short, informative, and fun comics which will quickly teach you something useful.

who are these zines for?

They’re aimed at working programmers, like me! The idea is that you’re busy, you want to know how to use some computer thing, and the man page makes your head hurt.

is the PDF version printable?

Yes! The PDF version of the zine includes special PDFs designed to be easy printable on a home printer. Print it out, staple it, fold it, read it, and then give it to a friend! It turns out it’s way easier to convince your friends to read a physical thing that is in front of them.

They all have black & white version to make sure they print well if you only have a black & white printer.

People love this zine!

This is great. It’s like someone turned my most frequently visited StackOverflow answers into a comic!
I’ve been working with bash for 12 years (since freshman year of college) and I bought this zine for $12 and I legit learn at least one thing on every page. If you work with shells ever, buy this.
I bought this fifteen minutes ago and learned about "wait" which speeds up a script I run weekly by about 80 percent (the script does something that could be run in parallel but I wasn't doing so), so I've already gotten my money's worth.
I bought this, and in 28 pages it gave me more useful information than my fat Bash books. Which are great, but zomg so much to wade through to find what I want. This is darn near perfect. And fun.
This has been more useful to me than the three bash books I've had to read to learn how to script in bash. I actually *remember* things from this book that I can use. AMAZING!!!

Table of Contents:

Take a peek inside:

© Julia Evans 2024 | All rights reserved (see the FAQ for notes about licensing)