Shell (computing)

Computer program that exposes an operating system's services to a human user or other programs / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In computing, a shell is a computer program that exposes an operating system's services to a human user or other programs. In general, operating system shells use either a command-line interface (CLI) or graphical user interface (GUI), depending on a computer's role and particular operation. It is named a shell because it is the outermost layer around the operating system.[1][2]

A graphical interface from the late 1980s, which features a TUI window for a man page, a shaped window (oclock) as well as several iconified windows. In the lower right we can see a terminal emulator running a Unix shell, in which the user can type commands as if they were sitting at a terminal.

Command-line shells require the user to be familiar with commands and their calling syntax, and to understand concepts about the shell-specific scripting language (for example, bash), while graphical shells place a low burden on beginning computer users and are characterized as being easy to use, yet most GUI-enabled operating systems also provide CLI shells, normally for performing advanced tasks.