Chris F.A. Johnson
Unix shell programming notes

10 September 2004

Shell scripting assistance

Help writing a shell script is available from many sources, from newsgroups and websites to contract programming. Here is a selection of resources to assist in solving your problem.

If the links to shell resources or the shell page don't provide you with enough (or provide too much) information to accomplish a task you need to complete, here are some more places to get assistance:

  1. Collections of scripts
  2. Usenet newsgroup,
  3. Web forums
  4. LinkedIn groups
  5. Request for assistance
  6. Contract programming

Script Collections

There's a good chance that someone has already written a script to do what you want. If there's something close, perhaps you can modify an existing script. Here are a few places to look:

See below for help tailoring scripts to your specific requirements.

Usenet newsgroup:

For quick help with relatively simple (and sometimes not-so-simple) scripts, you can't beat the Usenet newsgroup, There, dozens of knowledgeable regulars will provide answers, corrections and improvements to those answers, arguments about why one solution is better than another, etc..

Usenet predates the World Wide Web by more than a decade, and comprises tens of thousands of newsgroups, each dedicated to a specific topic. You can access Usenet with a newsreader (which is often built into an e-mail client) such as slrn, tin, Pine, gnus, Thunderbird, etc., or through a web interface such as Google Groups (not recommended for posting, but great for searching the archives, especially with the Advanced Group Search). Use the advanced search to search the archives before posting a request; there's a vast amount of material there.

Web forums

There are many web forums where you can get help. One of the best is Shell Programming and Scripting at

LinkedIn groups

There are a few groups that deal with shell scripting:

Request assistance here

If you cannot find an existing script, and you have not received an adequate answer in or other forum (or feel that what you need is too much to ask for in the newsgroup or forum), you can send me a request for assistance. If the problem interests me, and I think I can provide a solution, I'll take a crack at it. (I am not likely to be interested in problems that are answered in the FAQ or have been answered recently in the newsgroup.)

If I provide you with a useful script, I ask that you make a small PayPal donation to the cause, so that I can continue to help people. If you make a minimum donation of US$25.00 before I provide a solution, I guarantee that I'll take a serious look at your problem. A donation is not mandatory, and places no obligation on me, except that I promise to do some work on your problem if you donate.

Send your problems to me at or fill in this form.

Contract programming

If your task isn't appropriate for any of the other modes of assistance, I can be contracted to write a program for you. If your project is larger, or more urgent, or trickier than you can expect from existing scripts, a newsgroup, or donation-expedited scripting, I can give you a quotation or estimate. I charge US$75.00 per hour, for a minimum of 3 hours. This is required as a deposit before I start on the project.

Send your query to or fill in this form.

Modified 19 Apr 2013