Korn Shell Scripting for System Administrators: Automating Tasks with Ease

Korn Shell Scripting for System Administrators: Automating Tasks with Ease

As a system administrator, automating day-to-day administrative tasks can be a tedious and time-consuming job. However, with the use of Korn shell scripting, you can automate those tasks with ease. The Korn shell (ksh), first introduced by David G. Korn at Bell Labs in the early 1980s, is an enhanced version of the Bourne shell (sh) with numerous features that make it a powerful tool for scripting. In this article, we will explore some of the features of Korn shell scripting and how they can be used to automate tasks.

Variables and Comments

Like most programming languages, Korn shell scripting has variables that can store and manipulate values. Unlike other languages, though, Korn shell scripting uses a syntax that is closer to that of the shell command line. Variables can be initialized in the script, or they can be set based on input or output from other commands. For instance, you can use the date command to get the current date and assign it to a variable.

NOW=$(date +"%Y-%m-%d")
echo "Today is $NOW"

To make your script more readable, it’s essential to add comments. Comments are lines of text that begin with the # symbol and are ignored by the shell. They help you and others understand the purpose of the script and the logic behind it.

Looping and Conditional Statements

Korn shell scripting also has looping and conditional statements that enable complex processing of data. The for loop is used to execute a set of commands repeatedly for a specific number of times. For instance, you can use a for loop to iterate over a list of files and perform some operation on each file.

for file in $(ls *.txt)
  echo "$file"

The if-else statement is used to execute a set of commands based on a specific condition. For instance, you can use an if-else statement to check if a specific file exists and take appropriate action.

if [ -f myfile.txt ]
  echo "myfile.txt exists"
  echo "myfile.txt does not exist"


Furthermore, Korn shell scripting allows you to define functions that you can reuse in your script. A function is a set of commands that perform a specific task. It’s defined using the following syntax:


Here’s an example of a function that converts a string to uppercase.

  echo $1 | tr "[:lower:]" "[:upper:]" 
to_upper "hello world"




In summary, Korn shell scripting provides system administrators with a powerful tool to automate tasks and improve productivity. We’ve only scratched the surface in this article, but the examples we’ve covered should give you a head start in utilizing Korn shell scripting. By mastering the syntax and features of Korn shell scripting, you’ll be able to develop more complex scripts that can handle a wide range of tasks. So, start exploring and experimenting with Korn shell scripting to see how much time and effort you can save!

In the end, Korn shell scripting is not just about automating tasks, but it is about creating a tool that empowers you to solve problems and tackle challenges that come your way. So, happy scripting, and let your creativity guide you!