[ is an actual bash command
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$ which [ /bin/[
What's that? I rarely do bash scripting so I'm always happy to learn more about it.
Guillermo was also so kind to also share a doc explaining this. If you prefer the TL;DR... here we go:
In bash there is a
test command. You can use it to e.g. check if a file exists (with the
-e flag) or if a file path points to a directory (with the
-d flag). There are also many more options available and you can have a look executing
man test. In bash scripts you probably use
test inside of an
if condition. So how does an
if condition looks like in bash?
if test -e /etc/passwd; then echo "Alright man..." >&2 else echo "Yuck! Where is it??" >&2 exit 1 fi
I found the example above online and well... this puzzled me. I always assumed that
if conditions have to include
 in bash. And that's my learning today!
It turns out that
 are not bash syntax but an actual bash command.
$ which [ [: shell built-in command $ man [ TEST(1) BSD General Commands Manual TEST(1) NAME test, [ -- condition evaluation utility SYNOPSIS test expression [ expression ] ... ...
There are even manual pages for it but you see that the displayed man pages are the man pages of
test. So this means that
test are actual the same thing. 😲
$ test -e /does/not/exist FAIL: 1 $ [ -e /does/not/exist ] FAIL: 1
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