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6.4 Bash Conditional Expressions

Conditional expressions are used by the [[ compound command and the test and [ builtin commands.

Expressions may be unary or binary. Unary expressions are often used to examine the status of a file. There are string operators and numeric comparison operators as well. If the file argument to one of the primaries is of the form /dev/fd/N, then file descriptor N is checked. If the file argument to one of the primaries is one of /dev/stdin, /dev/stdout, or /dev/stderr, file descriptor 0, 1, or 2, respectively, is checked.

When used with ‘[[’, the ‘<’ and ‘>’ operators sort lexicographically using the current locale. The test command uses ASCII ordering.

Unless otherwise specified, primaries that operate on files follow symbolic links and operate on the target of the link, rather than the link itself.

-a file

True if file exists.

-b file

True if file exists and is a block special file.

-c file

True if file exists and is a character special file.

-d file

True if file exists and is a directory.

-e file

True if file exists.

-f file

True if file exists and is a regular file.

-g file

True if file exists and its set-group-id bit is set.

-h file

True if file exists and is a symbolic link.

-k file

True if file exists and its "sticky" bit is set.

-p file

True if file exists and is a named pipe (FIFO).

-r file

True if file exists and is readable.

-s file

True if file exists and has a size greater than zero.

-t fd

True if file descriptor fd is open and refers to a terminal.

-u file

True if file exists and its set-user-id bit is set.

-w file

True if file exists and is writable.

-x file

True if file exists and is executable.

-G file

True if file exists and is owned by the effective group id.

-L file

True if file exists and is a symbolic link.

-N file

True if file exists and has been modified since it was last read.

-O file

True if file exists and is owned by the effective user id.

-S file

True if file exists and is a socket.

file1 -ef file2

True if file1 and file2 refer to the same device and inode numbers.

file1 -nt file2

True if file1 is newer (according to modification date) than file2, or if file1 exists and file2 does not.

file1 -ot file2

True if file1 is older than file2, or if file2 exists and file1 does not.

-o optname

True if the shell option optname is enabled. The list of options appears in the description of the -o option to the set builtin (see The Set Builtin).

-v varname

True if the shell variable varname is set (has been assigned a value).

-z string

True if the length of string is zero.

-n string
string

True if the length of string is non-zero.

string1 == string2
string1 = string2

True if the strings are equal. ‘=’ should be used with the test command for POSIX conformance.

string1 != string2

True if the strings are not equal.

string1 < string2

True if string1 sorts before string2 lexicographically.

string1 > string2

True if string1 sorts after string2 lexicographically.

arg1 OP arg2

OP is one of ‘-eq’, ‘-ne’, ‘-lt’, ‘-le’, ‘-gt’, or ‘-ge’. These arithmetic binary operators return true if arg1 is equal to, not equal to, less than, less than or equal to, greater than, or greater than or equal to arg2, respectively. Arg1 and arg2 may be positive or negative integers.


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