This is probably a question more for unix systems but because i have it on my Mac Pro i hope i will find an answer here :

When i browse to /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.7.0_11.jdk/Contents/Home/db/bin

with a cd I can't execute the command startNetworkServer present in bin , instead i can run it via ./startNetworkServer.

However from ~

MacCris:~ cris$ /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.7.0_11.jdk/Contents/Home/db/bin/startNetworkServer

it works without ./

Any idea why ? (rights related ?)


2 Answers 2


This is due to the behaviour of your shell that is running in there Terminal.app. It is probably the bash shell

When you ask the shell to run a command if you provide an absolute path (that is beginning with / as your second one does) it will try to execute that program at that path. If you provide a relative path (i.e. one not starting with /) it will try to create an absolute path by prepending the directories that are in your PATH environment variable to what you typed. As your current directory or . is not on your PATH it cannot find a file to execute. If the path begins with a . the it will repave that by the absolute path of your current directory and thus get a path that can be executed.

  • ~ = home folder nothing else.

  • ./something will execute that something (be it script or binary)
    Writing the full path is the same as executing with ./

  • cd is change directory, so it will not execute

These are all standard unix/linux command line commands

http://linuxcommand.org/learning_the_shell.php http://www.arachnoid.com/linux/shell_programming.html

  • Thanks...but is not that i do not know those commands (basic ones) is that the behaviour is different when i try to execute via full path or when i am in that directory
    – Cris
    Dec 20, 2013 at 20:58

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