Building and Installing OSH

OSH is a bash-compatible shell, and is part of the Oil project (

This file describes how to configure, build, and install it from source code.

Quick Start

If you haven't already done so, extract the tarball:

tar -x --xz < oil-0.8.pre3.tar.xz
cd oil-0.8.pre3

Either install as /usr/local/bin/osh:

./configure      # completes very quickly
make             # 30-60 seconds
sudo ./install

or install as ~/bin/osh and the man page as ~/.local/share/man/man1/osh.1:

./configure --prefix ~ --datarootdir ~/.local/share

The latter doesn't require root access, but it requires:

NOTE: Out-of-tree builds are NOT currently supported, so you have to be in the oil-0.8.pre3 directory.

Smoke Test

OSH behaves like a POSIX shell:

$ osh -c 'echo hi'

This parses and prints a syntax tree for the 'configure' script.

osh -n configure

More Documentation

Every release has a home page with links, e.g.

System Requirements

Roughly speaking, you need:

(I want to remove the GNU requirements and require only POSIX sh instead).


Debian/Ubuntu and derivatives:

sudo apt install build-essential libreadline-dev

Alpine Linux:

apk add libc-dev gcc bash make readline-dev

OSH has been tested several Linux distros and OS X. It aims to run on any POSIX system. If it doesn't, file a bug here:

Build Options

./configure --help will show the options. Right now, the only significant options are --prefix and --{with,without}-readline.



Generated on Mon Mar 23 14:42:04 PDT 2020