Text-mode shells are an important part of any Linux system. They enable you to run text-mode programs from text-based login tools such as a text-mode console, dumb terminal, or network SSH session. Most Linux shells, including the popular bash, provide features that can help make text mode very productive. These features include command completion, history, command editing, redirection, and pipes. You can also customize your shell to your liking by creating aliases, setting environment variables, and modifying the prompt.

Shells provide an important additional feature: scripting. You can further enhance your productivity in Linux by writing scripts, which combine several commands, possibly using conditional expressions, loops, and other features to increase their power. Scripts can help automate tasks that would otherwise be quite tedious. Furthermore, many Linux startup scripts are written in the bash shell scripting language, so understanding this language is key to modifying startup scripts.

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