How to Use GNU bc (Basic Calculator) in Linux?


Linux is one of the most popular and powerful operating systems in the market which provides a plethora of tools and features to make the lives of its user easier.

One such utility is GNU bc, which stands for Basic Calculator. GNU bc is a command-line calculator that allows users to perform advanced mathematical calculations, including floating-point arithmetic and complex numbers.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use GNU bc (basic calculator) in Linux. We will cover basic arithmetic operations, as well as some advanced arithmetic operations. By the end of this article, you will have a good understanding of how to use GNU bc in Linux for your calculations. So, let's get started!

Installing GNU bc

Installing GNU bc is a relatively simple process and can be done in a few steps. In this section, we will guide you through the process of installing GNU bc in Linux.

Firstly, open up the terminal by pressing "Ctrl + Alt + T" on your keyboard. This will bring up a command-line interface where you can type in commands.

Next, we need to check if GNU bc is already installed on our system. We can do this by typing in the following command in the terminal 

$ bc --version

If GNU bc is already installed, you will see its version number printed on the screen. If it is not installed, you will see an error message. In that case, we need to install it.

To install GNU bc, we can use the package manager of our Linux distribution. Different distributions have different package managers. Here are some common ones 

For Ubuntu, Debian, and other Debian-based distributions 

$ sudo apt-get install bc

For Fedora, CentOS, and other Red Hat-based distributions 

$ sudo dnf install bc

For Arch Linux and other Arch-based distributions 

$ sudo pacman -S bc

Once you have entered the appropriate command for your distribution, the package manager will download and install GNU bc on your system.

After installation, you can confirm that GNU bc is working correctly by typing in the following command 

$ bc

This will start the GNU bc calculator in the terminal, and you can start using it for your calculations.

In the next section of the article, we will cover the basic arithmetic operations that you can perform with GNU bc.

Using GNU bc

Using GNU bc is quite simple and straightforward process, and in this part of the article, we will show you how to perform basic arithmetic operations using the GNU bc basic calculator. We will also explain some of the basic concepts and commands that you will need to know.

To start using GNU bc, open up the terminal and type in the following command 

$ bc

This will start the GNU bc calculator, and you can start typing in your calculations.

A. Basic Arithmetic Operations

GNU bc supports the basic arithmetic operations that you would expect from a calculator, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Here are some examples:

Addition

To perform addition, you simply use the plus sign (+) between two numbers. For example, if you wanted to add 2 and 3 together, you would type

2 + 3
5

Subtraction

To perform subtraction, you use the minus sign (-) between two numbers. For example, if you wanted to subtract 3 from 5, you would type

5 - 3
2

Multiplication

Multiplication is performed using the asterisk symbol (*). For example, if you wanted to multiply 2 and 3 together, you would type

2 * 3
6

Division

Division is performed using the forward-slash (/) symbol. For example, if you wanted to divide 6 by 3, you would type

6 / 3
2

These basic arithmetic operations can be used in more complex calculations that you may encounter while using the GNU bc calculator. It is important to keep in mind that the order of operations follows the standard mathematical rules, where multiplication and division take precedence over addition and subtraction.

Now that, we’ve understood the basic arithmetic operations, let’s move ahead and understand how can we do some advanced operations in GNU bc.

B. Advanced Arithmetic Operations

In addition to the basic arithmetic operations, the GNU bc calculator also supports advanced arithmetic operations that are commonly used in mathematical and scientific calculations. These operations include exponentiation, modulus, and square root.

Exponentiation

Exponentiation is performed using the caret (^) symbol. For example, if you wanted to calculate 2 to the power of 3, you would type 

2^3

The result would be 

8

Modulus

Modulus is performed using the percent sign (%), and calculates the remainder of a division operation. For example, if you wanted to calculate the remainder when 10 is divided by 3, you would type 

10 % 3

The result would be 

1

Square root

Square root is performed using the sqrt() function. For example, if you wanted to calculate the square root of 25, you would type 

sqrt(25)

The result would be 

5

In addition to these advanced arithmetic operations, the GNU bc calculator also supports trigonometric functions such as sine, cosine, and tangent, as well as logarithmic and exponential functions.

Trigonometric Functions

Trigonometric functions are performed using the sin(), cos(), and tan() functions, respectively. For example, if you wanted to calculate the sin of 30 degrees, you would type 

sin(30)

The result would be 

0.5

Logarithmic and Exponential Functions

Logarithmic and exponential functions are performed using the log() and exp() functions, respectively. For example, if you wanted to calculate the natural logarithm of 10, you would type −

log(10)

The result would be 

2.30258509

In addition to these advanced arithmetic operations, the GNU bc calculator also supports working with constants and variables, as well as control structures such as conditionals and loops. These advanced features can be used to perform complex calculations and automate tasks in a powerful and flexible way.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we learned how to use GNU bc (Basic Calculator) in Linux. We covered the installation process and basic arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. We also discussed advanced arithmetic operations like exponentiation, modulus, and square root. Moreover, we looked at examples for each of the cases. By following the instructions in this article, you should now have a good understanding of how to use GNU bc in Linux for your calculations.

Updated on: 27-Jul-2023

162 Views

Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started
Advertisements