It is a question related to this other one, but I can't comment.

I've updated to use bash 4 from brew installation. But I don't know if changing all the header scripts from:




Isn't a portable solution.

Moreover, some scripts check if the shell is a /bin/bash shell (docker-toolbox in example)

Before writing, I was recommended to read this: https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/119179/77314 But the path solution is neither portable nor can apply on docker case (no direct source).

So I still doubt: is really a bad idea to softlink the bash?

Obviously, targeting independent-version.

  • 1
    Upgrading the OS could overwrite it - why update bash for these scripts - I can understand for terminal sessions - what improvement do you get -the scripts are probably written for older bash anyway
    – mmmmmm
    Sep 25, 2015 at 16:08
  • Upgrading: ok, it is true, so maybe someday I'll find myself in bash 3 without knowing ^^' ---- Scripts: when I write scripts, as I write code, I try to use latest software available, but most portable possible too. If I share my script with others and the bash line is not the /bin/bash, will complain anything?
    – lucasvc
    Sep 26, 2015 at 11:32
  • 1
    It depends of the other person has an interpreter at the path you give - if not then it will not run - if they do hope it is the correct version - note if I have to write a shell script I will write it as sh as that will be portable, if more complex I'll use python, perl etc
    – mmmmmm
    Sep 26, 2015 at 13:20
  • Really nice comments! You have convinced me. Could you put them as answer?
    – lucasvc
    Sep 26, 2015 at 15:21
  • With SIP (the "rootless" feature of 10.11), the problem kind of solves itself as you are no longer able to modify /bin.
    – nohillside
    Oct 2, 2015 at 9:02

2 Answers 2


#!/usr/bin/env bash is the 'most portable' approach but #!/bin/bash is the standard convention on OS X and Linux. There are advantages to shebang with a stable system interpreter, and it's probably not worth using a newer Bash.

  • Is bash 4 less stable than 3? It is still updated version 3?
    – lucasvc
    Oct 2, 2015 at 9:13
  • By stable I mean it's not likely to flip through versions, will survive OS upgrades and changes. You can still use Bash 4 as a shell but if your script doesn't use Bash 4 features I'd just stick with /bin/bash.
    – ianml
    Oct 2, 2015 at 9:27

Create your own bash symbolic link. Then use that in your script. You can then change the symlink to point to whatever you want. That's the approach used with java-alternatives and other platforms (ruby, python, etc.). Thus, they change the symlinks, and you have a new version in your environment.

  • Yes, I know how, my question was about good or bad idea in the bash case. Thanks anyway.
    – lucasvc
    Sep 26, 2015 at 11:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .