Unix / Linux - Shell Boolean Operators Example


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The following Boolean operators are supported by the Bourne Shell.

Assume variable a holds 10 and variable b holds 20 then −

Operator Description Example
! This is logical negation. This inverts a true condition into false and vice versa. [ ! false ] is true.
-o This is logical OR. If one of the operands is true, then the condition becomes true. [ $a -lt 20 -o $b -gt 100 ] is true.
-a This is logical AND. If both the operands are true, then the condition becomes true otherwise false. [ $a -lt 20 -a $b -gt 100 ] is false.

Example

Here is an example which uses all the Boolean operators −

#!/bin/sh

a=10
b=20

if [ $a != $b ]
then
   echo "$a != $b : a is not equal to b"
else
   echo "$a != $b: a is equal to b"
fi

if [ $a -lt 100 -a $b -gt 15 ]
then
   echo "$a -lt 100 -a $b -gt 15 : returns true"
else
   echo "$a -lt 100 -a $b -gt 15 : returns false"
fi

if [ $a -lt 100 -o $b -gt 100 ]
then
   echo "$a -lt 100 -o $b -gt 100 : returns true"
else
   echo "$a -lt 100 -o $b -gt 100 : returns false"
fi

if [ $a -lt 5 -o $b -gt 100 ]
then
   echo "$a -lt 100 -o $b -gt 100 : returns true"
else
   echo "$a -lt 100 -o $b -gt 100 : returns false"
fi

The above script will generate the following result −

10 != 20 : a is not equal to b
10 -lt 100 -a 20 -gt 15 : returns true
10 -lt 100 -o 20 -gt 100 : returns true
10 -lt 5 -o 20 -gt 100 : returns false

The following points need to be considered while using the operators −

  • There must be spaces between the operators and the expressions. For example, 2+2 is not correct; it should be written as 2 + 2.

  • if...then...else...fi statement is a decision-making statement which has been explained in the next chapter.


unix-basic-operators.htm

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