Considering the Source

TIL- bash's `until` builtin

Cool bash factoid of the day

From: Fri 25 January 2019

Category: Tech

Tags: shell

I've been a heavy bash user for years. Writing while loops has been part of my bash bread & butter; on systems that don't have the Linuxy watch command I inevitably write some kind of while :; do date; command; sleep 10; clear; done during my average terminal session. Today a coworker showed me about until, which is like while but the logical opposite. To illustrate what I mean, check out this bash loop that would never run:

while false; do
  echo "You will ever see me"

The until builtin substituted for while there would make the loop run infinitely!

until false; do
  echo "You will see a whole lot of me"

To quote the help until output, ah... fuck it, let's just include the whole thing.

until: until COMMANDS; do COMMANDS; done
    Execute commands as long as a test does not succeed.

    Expand and execute COMMANDS as long as the final command in the
    `until' COMMANDS has an exit status which is not zero.

    Exit Status:
    Returns the status of the last command executed.

It's essentially while ! command; do ...; done. How neat is that!