ALIAS(P) POSIX Programmer's Manual ALIAS(P)
alias - define or display aliases
alias [alias-name[=string] ...]
The alias utility shall create or redefine alias definitions or write the values of exist-
ing alias definitions to standard output. An alias definition provides a string value that
shall replace a command name when it is encountered; see Alias Substitution .
An alias definition shall affect the current shell execution environment and the execution
environments of the subshells of the current shell. When used as specified by this volume
of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, the alias definition shall not affect the parent process of the
current shell nor any utility environment invoked by the shell; see Shell Execution Envi-
The following operands shall be supported:
Write the alias definition to standard output.
Assign the value of string to the alias alias-name.
If no operands are given, all alias definitions shall be written to standard output.
The following environment variables shall affect the execution of alias:
LANG Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or
null. (See the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 8.2, Inter-
nationalization Variables for the precedence of internationalization variables used
to determine the values of locale categories.)
LC_ALL If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other interna-
Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data as
characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in argu-
Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of diag-
nostic messages written to standard error.
Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES .
The format for displaying aliases (when no operands or only name operands are specified)
"%s=%s\n", name, value
The value string shall be written with appropriate quoting so that it is suitable for
reinput to the shell. See the description of shell quoting in Quoting .
The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.
The following exit values shall be returned:
0 Successful completion.
>0 One of the name operands specified did not have an alias definition, or an error
CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS
The following sections are informative.
1. Change ls to give a columnated, more annotated output:
alias ls="ls -CF"
2. Create a simple "redo" command to repeat previous entries in the command history file:
alias r='fc -s'
3. Use 1K units for du:
alias du=du\ -k
4. Set up nohup so that it can deal with an argument that is itself an alias name:
alias nohup="nohup "
The alias description is based on historical KornShell implementations. Known differences
exist between that and the C shell. The KornShell version was adopted to be consistent
with all the other KornShell features in this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, such as com-
mand line editing.
Since alias affects the current shell execution environment, it is generally provided as a
shell regular built-in.
Historical versions of the KornShell have allowed aliases to be exported to scripts that
are invoked by the same shell. This is triggered by the alias -x flag; it is allowed by
this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 only when an explicit extension such as -x is used.
The standard developers considered that aliases were of use primarily to interactive users
and that they should normally not affect shell scripts called by those users; functions
are available to such scripts.
Historical versions of the KornShell had not written aliases in a quoted manner suitable
for reentry to the shell, but this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 has made this a require-
ment for all similar output. Therefore, consistency with this volume of
IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 was chosen over this detail of historical practice.
Function Definition Command
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std
1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System
Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by
the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the
event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group
Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The orig-
inal Standard can be obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .
IEEE/The Open Group 2003 ALIAS(P)