ARCHIVE / What is a shell?

In the world of computers, shells refer to the means of accessing an operating system using a textual interface.  The term shell comes from the use of the term kernel to describe the functional core of an operating system.  Thus, the shell sits outside the kernel and, in some cases, shells can even exist outside other shells.  Another term for a shell is "command-line", as most shells consist of a line of text used to give commands to the operating system.  All modern operating systems have at least one shell and some, especially UNIX-like operating systems, often have more than one to choose from.

last updated 2007.09.25

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