Linux – What does this command do? “exec bash -l”


What does this command do?

exec bash -l

I found this command as part of a reminder text file were I wrote some instructions regarding how to create a ssh key and clone a git repo, but I wrote it a long time ago and I can't remember what it does.

Best Solution

exec executes a specified command, replacing the current process rather than starting a new subprocess.

If you type

bash -l

at a shell prompt, it will invoke a new shell process (the -l makes it a login shell). If you exit that shell process, you'll be back to your original shell process.


exec bash -l

means that the new shell process replaces your current shell process. It's probably slightly less resource intensive.

The reason for doing it is probably so that the new shell sets up its environment (by reading your .bashrc, .bash_profile, etc.).

See the bash documentation for more information:

(You should be able to read the manual on your own system by typing info bash.)