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Previous: 14.10 Variables Help You Find Directories and Files Chapter 14
Moving Around in a Hurry
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14.11 Finding (Anyone's) Home Directory, Quickly

The C shell, ksh and bash have a shortcut for the pathname to your home directory: a tilde ( ~ ), often called "twiddle" by UNIX-heads. You can use ~ in a pathname to the home directory from wherever you are. For example, from any directory, you can list your home directory or edit your .cshrc file in it by typing:

% 

ls ~


   ...
% 

vi ~/.cshrc

Bourne shell users - try the $HOME or $LOGDIR variables instead.

You could change your current directory to your home directory by typing cd ~ or cd $HOME although all shells have a shorter shortcut: typing plain cd with no argument also takes you home.

If your shell understands the tilde, it should also have an abbreviation for other users' home directories: a tilde with the username on the end. For example, the home directory for mandi , which might really be /usr3/users/mfg/mandi , could be abbreviated ~mandi . On your account, if Mandi told you to copy the file named menu.c from her src directory, you could type:

% 

cp ~mandi/src/menu.c .

Don't confuse this with filenames like report~ . Some programs, like the GNU Emacs ( 32.4 ) editor, create temporary filenames that end with a ~ (tilde).

The Bourne shell doesn't have anything like ~mandi . Here's a trick that's probably too ugly to type a lot - but it's useful in Bourne shell scripts, where you don't want to "hardcode" users' home directory pathnames. This command calls the C shell to put mandi 's home directory pathname into $dir :

username=mandi
dir=`csh -fc "echo ~$username"`

The tilde is a good thing to use in your shell setup files ( 2.2 ) , too.

- JP


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