Whats the difference between running a shell script as ./script.sh and sh script.sh

I have a script that looks like this


function something() {
 echo "hello world!!"

something | tee logfile 

I have set the execute permission on this file and when I try running the file like this


it runs perfectly fine, but when I run it on the command line like this

$sh script.sh 

It throws up an error. Why does this happen and what are the ways in which I can fix this.


Running it as ./script.sh will make the kernel read the first line (the shebang), and then invoke bash to interpret the script. Running it as sh script.sh uses whatever shell your system defaults sh to (on Ubuntu this is Dash, which is sh-compatible, but doesn't support some of the extra features of Bash).

You can fix it by invoking it as bash script.sh, or if it's your machine you can change /bin/sh to be bash and not whatever it is currently (usually just by symlinking it - rm /bin/sh && ln -s /bin/bash /bin/sh). Or you can just use ./script.sh instead if that's already working ;)

If your shell is indeed dash and you want to modify the script to be compatible, https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DashAsBinSh has a helpful guide to the differences. In your sample it looks like you'd just have to remove the function keyword.

if your script is at your present working directory and you issue ./script.sh, the kernel will read the shebang (first line) and execute the shell interpreter that is defined. you can also call your script.sh by specifying the path of the interpreter eg

/bin/bash myscript.sh
/bin/sh myscript.sh  
/bin/ksh myscript.sh etc 

By the way, you can also put your shebang like this (if you don't want to specify full path)

#!/usr/bin/env sh

sh script.sh forces the script to be executed within the sh - shell.

while simply starting it from command line uses the shell-environemnt you're in.

Please post the error message for further answers.

Random though on what the error may be: path specified in first line /bin/bash is wrong -- maybe bash is not installed?

Need Your Help

Moment.js - how do I get the number of years since a date, not rounded up?

javascript date momentjs

I'm trying to calculate a person's age using Moment.js, but I'm finding that the otherwise useful fromNow method rounds up the years. For instance, if today is 12/27/2012 and the person's birth dat...

WPF: Bind DataGrid to List<String>

wpf binding datagrid

Funny, how sometimes the simple things bite me in the behind.