NOTE: This Page Is A Work In Progress

While reading through the rbenv-init file, we saw that the file’s logic branches via a case statement depending on which shell the user is running (i.e. Bash, zsh, fish, and sometimes ksh). That made me wonder, what is the difference between each of these shells, and why would a user pick one over the others?

To be honest, my biggest take-away from researching the different shells is that, as a non-power user, the best shell for me is the default of zsh on my Macbook. It’s interesting to get a bit of added context on the alternatives, but for now I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

The following are some resources I encountered during my research which (frankly) are more in-depth than what I’ve written below:

With that said, here are my take-aways from the research I did:


  • Bash is a shell but also a lanuage.
  • Most users use Bash, since it’s the default for most Linux systems.
  • Bash does not have inline wildcard expression, the way zsh does.
    • For example, if you type cat *.txt and hit the tab key, zsh will expand the * character to list all the txt files, so cat *.txt becomes cat foo.txt bar.txt buzz.txt.
    • The Bash shell does not offer this ability. -



  • Does not comply with POSIX standards.
  • Includes “search as you type” automatic suggestions.
  • Comes with a lot of configurations and features (such as syntax and even error highlighting) already set and always-on by default.
  • Basically takes a “convention over configuration” approach, so some people consider it more beginner-friendly. source


Additional Reading: