Debugging bash scripts.

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Debugging bash scripts.

Ian Bruntlett
Hi,

I'm looking to have some kind of debugger to debug bash scripts.

bashdb might be suitable but why isn't it in the usual package repositories?

BW,


Ian

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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 15:33:43 +0000, Ian Bruntlett wrote:
>I'm looking to have some kind of debugger to debug bash scripts.
>
>bashdb might be suitable but why isn't it in the usual package
>repositories?

[weremouse@moonstudio ~]$ bash -c "help set" | grep '\-n'
set: set [-abefhkmnptuvxBCHP] [-o option-name] [--] [arg ...]
      -n  Read commands but do not execute them.
      -o option-name
          Set the variable corresponding to option-name:
              noexec       same as -n
[weremouse@moonstudio ~]$ man bash | grep debugger
       --debugger
              Arrange for the debugger profile to be executed before
the shell starts.  Turns on extended debugging mode (see the
description of the extdebug option to the shopt  builtin If set,
behavior intended for use by debuggers is enabled:

However, running

bash -n your_script

checks the syntax but can't detect issues regarding some typos.
IOW if you typed to execute "sl" instead of ls" and "ls" shouldn't be
provided by PATH or it should be by
https://packages.ubuntu.com/cosmic/sl, the "-n" option doesn't help.

I can't say anything about the "--debugger" option, actually I neither
use "-n", nor "--debugger" to check my bash scripts.


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 16:58:38 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:

>On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 15:33:43 +0000, Ian Bruntlett wrote:
>>I'm looking to have some kind of debugger to debug bash scripts.
>>
>>bashdb might be suitable but why isn't it in the usual package
>>repositories?  
>
>[weremouse@moonstudio ~]$ bash -c "help set" | grep '\-n'
>set: set [-abefhkmnptuvxBCHP] [-o option-name] [--] [arg ...]
>      -n  Read commands but do not execute them.
>      -o option-name
>          Set the variable corresponding to option-name:
>              noexec       same as -n
>[weremouse@moonstudio ~]$ man bash | grep debugger
>       --debugger
>              Arrange for the debugger profile to be executed before
>the shell starts.  Turns on extended debugging mode (see the
>description of the extdebug option to the shopt  builtin If set,
>behavior intended for use by debuggers is enabled:
>
>However, running
>
>bash -n your_script
>
>checks the syntax but can't detect issues regarding some typos.
>IOW if you typed to execute "sl" instead of ls" and "ls" shouldn't be
                                                      ^^ this should
                                                      read "sl" *lol*


>provided by PATH or it should be by
>https://packages.ubuntu.com/cosmic/sl, the "-n" option doesn't help.
>
>I can't say anything about the "--debugger" option, actually I neither
>use "-n", nor "--debugger" to check my bash scripts.


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
In reply to this post by Ian Bruntlett
PS:

Possible correct syntax, but bad typos could be work around by
"interactive" options, e.g.

It should read

  sudo rm -r /tmp/foo

but regarding a typo it's

  sudo rm -r / tmp/foo

to avoid serious trouble

  sudo rm -Ir /tmp/foo

does the trick, even with a typo

  sudo rm -Ir / tmp/foo

isn't executed without interaction.

  mv -i foo bar

even doesn't require interaction, as long as "bar" doesn't exist.

If your bash scripts really need debugging that much, you not only
should consider to use a debugger, but also to run them in a sandboxed
environment (chroot, systemd-nspawn, virtual machine or fake-whatsoever
"development" container/install). Running the script without a debugger
anyway displays syntax errors:

[rocketmouse@archlinux tmp]$ cat test.bash
#!/bin/bash

pups

exit
[rocketmouse@archlinux tmp]$ bash -n test.bash
[rocketmouse@archlinux tmp]$ bash test.bash
test.bash: line 3: pups: command not found

Btw. my apologies, "--debugger" requires bashdb:

[rocketmouse@archlinux tmp]$ bash --debugger test.bash
test.bash: /usr/share/bashdb/bashdb-main.inc: No such file or directory
test.bash: warning: cannot start debugger; debugging mode disabled
test.bash: line 3: pups: command not found


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 17:33:16 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>Running the script without a debugger

in a safe environment

>anyway displays syntax errors

as well as typos ;).


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
In reply to this post by ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 17:33:16 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>If your bash scripts really need debugging that much

My apologies for the amount of replies. A last one.

It's not meant as a disdainful comment. IMO using a debugger to debug
shell scripts is uncomfortable, since quite useless, since a bash script
is "just" a set of rules to run programs. Apart from syntax errors and
typos and errors in reasoning there is nothing that could go wrong. IOW
there is not much to debug and/or strace, STDERR/STDOUT is all we
need to check a shell script. Sometimes it might be required to strace
(or even to debug) a program used by the script, but not the script
itself.

YMMV!

You could try to build it yourself,
https://sourceforge.net/projects/bashdb/files/, an Arch Linux package
seems to be doable by just running

./configure --prefix=/usr --disable-static -C
make

and apart from a basic Arch install it requires
'bash', 'python-pygments' and 'pygmentize' packages (for Ubuntu probably
dev packages ;).

On Ubuntu I would finish by running

  sudo checkinstall

instead of "sudo make install",
https://packages.ubuntu.com/cosmic/checkinstall.


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 19:07:50 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>A last one.

Oops, another last message :D.

I could imagine that a debugger could be useful to fix race conditions,
but actually I don't remember any such complex race condition, that I
ever wished to have a debugger.

I remember that an old script needed a loop

$ cat /usr/local/sbin/alice | grep pppoe_off\( -A4
pppoe_off() {
  echo; poff -a; ip link set enp3s0 down; printf "Progress: "
  while pidof pppd > /dev/null; do printf "."; sleep 3; done;
  echo; modprobe -vr pppoe; echo
}

but it's not complex and STDERR of modprobe most likely informed me about
the issue.


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

Ian Bruntlett
Hi Ralf,

Thanks for your replies. I'm looking for a Bash debugger because I'm working my way through "The Linux Command Line" (downloadable as a PDF from http://linuxcommand.org/tlcl.php  - I have the printed version) and I am being thorough and want to use Bash and a debugger to gain fluency in bash.

BW,


Ian

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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 2019-02-16 at 19:11 +0000, Ian Bruntlett wrote:
> Thanks for your replies. I'm looking for a Bash debugger because I'm
> working my way through "The Linux Command Line" (downloadable as a PDF
> from http://linuxcommand.org/tlcl.php  - I have the printed version)
> and I am being thorough and want to use Bash and a debugger to gain
> fluency in bash.

Well that's fair enough :)!

I'm an Assembly language dino who migrated from Commodore 64 and Atari
ST (+ 80286 hardware emulator) to Linux, so regarding to my background I
even prefer the trial-and-error principle and some googling over even
reading man bash and man dash, let alone the guide you mentioned or
similar guides. Actually most of my older scripts would have benefit
from reading the man pages in the first place :D. At least the 'shift'
command did render tons of lines of my old script needless. However,
there are some common used guides available. I was stupid and mostly
ignored them, so I actually don't remember the links. IIRC the common
recommended guides might be
https://www.tldp.org/LDP/Bash-Beginners-Guide/html/ and
https://www.tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/, but I might be mistaken, somebody
else should chime in.

A debugger for shell scripts IMO still seems to be inappropriate, but
it's possible that I miss the benefits of such a debugger, OTOH
seemingly neither Ubuntu and Debian, nor Arch provide it by official
repositories. At least for Arch I found a user repository providing
https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/bashdb/, "Description: A debugger for
Bash scripts loosely modeled on the gdb command syntax".

While I'm nowadays able to understand the "--help" and "man pages"
syntax, I remeber that it was way to hard to understand when I started,
so Google and guides are good in combination with the trial-and-error
principle.

While I prefer other search engines over Google, Google most of the
times provide better search results, if we are unaware about the
smartest search terms ;).

I wonder if somebody on this list does use a debugger for bash scripts.

Regards,
Ralf

PS: I try to write scripts that are at lest bash and dash compatible. As
the log in shell I prefer bash, because I use it for almost everything
directory/file and package management related on Ubuntu and Arch Linux,
but to run fast scripts, I prefer dash over bash, when ever possible. In
short, dash is faster, but so called 'bashisms' sometimes are more
comfortable to use. Dash is more portable than bash, assuming you want
to take a look at other POSIX/UNIXoid operating systems. However, bash
without doubts is used as the most common login shell for Linux distros,
so it's wise to care about bash.

I still doubt that the debugger is useful, but perhaps the time comes
you are able to prove me wrong :).





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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

Mike Marchywka
In reply to this post by Ian Bruntlett
>____________________________________
>From: ubuntu-users <[hidden email]> on behalf of Ian Bruntlett <[hidden email]>
>Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2019 2:11 PM
>To: Ubuntu user technical support, not for general discussions
>Subject: Re: Debugging bash scripts.
>
>Hi Ralf,
>
>Thanks for your replies. I'm looking for a Bash debugger because I'm working my way through "The Linux Command Line" (downloadable as a PDF from http://linuxcommand.org/tlcl.php  - I have the printed version) and I am being thorough and want to use Bash and a debugger to gain fluency in bash.

As an interpretter it is a bit different from debugging compiled languages.
You also have the added flexibility in that optimization and speed are almost never
a factor- otherwise you would compile and the code is almost always concise.

I just installed 'Beaver on a USB stick and cleaned up a lot of "junk directories" where I did not
bother to separate documents or projects. In the process I ended up with some scripts
that I named things like "setup" that reside in each project directory and may invoke a chain
higher up- ../setup calls ../setup etc and some global setup that just needs to be on the path and
defines global variable like places for scripts to put data. Also use scripts as documentation
for things like latex search path variables.
I also ahve scripts that go get data from unstructured web pages- trying to take a link to
an article and get the bibtex for that article so I can reference it in my own work. This can
involve scraping the link but often just comes down to getting a doi and calling crossref.
Between the page scaping and network there is a lot that can go wrong  and can be
hard to debug. .

In that process I just found that syntax errors come up much later as it is hard
to get good coverage like a compiler may get. But also if you read things like config scripts
you can see that just about anything can vary locally and you can get some usages ideas from things like
that. But anyway my point was for debugging I just finally made methods for everything-
so for example none of the scripts   will call "wget" but rather have variables with values like
"/foo/wget -q" or "/foo/wget -S -v" depending on how debug flags are set.
This let's you easily debug for learning and dealing with unexpected web events.

The great thing is that when you are done you have tractable documentation
on what you have done and what needs to be done. This differs from point and click
on things.

fwiw

>
>BW,
>
>
>Ian
>
>--
>-- ACCU - Professionalism in programming - http://www.accu.org
>-- My writing - https://sites.google.com/site/ianbruntlett/
>-- Free Software page - https://sites.google.com/site/ianbruntlett/home/free-software
>



note new address
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 2295 Collinworth  Drive Marietta GA 30062.  formerly 487 Salem Woods Drive Marietta GA 30067 404-788-1216 (C)<- leave message 989-348-4796 (P)<- emergency


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 20:21:57 +0000, Mike Marchywka wrote:
>But anyway my point was for debugging I just finally made methods for
>everything- so for example none of the scripts   will call "wget" but
>rather have variables with values like "/foo/wget -q" or "/foo/wget -S
>-v" depending on how debug flags are set. This let's you easily debug
>for learning and dealing with unexpected web events.

Indeed "verbose" options are more useful than "quite" options are and
there are pitfalls when using "&&" (or "||"), since they not
necessarily do the job, let alone "&", regarding race
conditions, especially, if shell external commands and more especially,
if special command, such as web related commands are used.

For example

man bash | grep wget

returns absolutely nothing.

Actually scripts are not a programming language. Are scripts a
markup or interpretor languaben and what does it all mean related to a
debugger? ;)!


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

Oliver Grawert
In reply to this post by Ian Bruntlett
hi,
Am Samstag, den 16.02.2019, 15:33 +0000 schrieb Ian Bruntlett:
> Hi,
>
> I'm looking to have some kind of debugger to debug bash scripts.
>
bash (or any POSIX capable shell too i think) comes with a bunch of
builtin debugging mechanisms ... add "set -ex" to the top of your
script ... thanks to the "x" you will get every step it does printed to
the console when you execute your script, "e" means to stop on errors. 

by adding that line to the script, the shell itself pretty much acts
like a debugger, showing you where execution fails and what is going on
etc ...

another good hint is to use the shellcheck (sudo apt install
shellcheck) command on all your scripts, this will help with quoting
errors and help you to improve your syntax in general by making useful
suggestions about your code.

ciao
        oli
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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
In reply to this post by ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:31:29 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:

>On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 20:21:57 +0000, Mike Marchywka wrote:
>>But anyway my point was for debugging I just finally made methods for
>>everything- so for example none of the scripts   will call "wget" but
>>rather have variables with values like "/foo/wget -q" or "/foo/wget -S
>>-v" depending on how debug flags are set. This let's you easily debug
>>for learning and dealing with unexpected web events.  
>
>Indeed "verbose" options are more useful than "quite" options are and
>there are pitfalls when using "&&" (or "||"), since they not
>necessarily do the job, let alone "&", regarding race
>conditions, especially, if shell external commands and more especially,
>if special command, such as web related commands are used.
>
>For example
>
>man bash | grep wget
>
>returns absolutely nothing.
>
>Actually scripts are not a programming language. Are scripts a
>markup or interpretor languaben and what does it all mean related to a
>debugger? ;)!

Again, a script is a set of conditions to run programs, a script is not
a program. For my understanding it is reasonable to use a debugger to
check a program, but I don't understand how a debugger could be useful
to check a script.

JFTR if a log file should be wanted

2>&1

is standard Bourne/POSIX shell

it's said that

&>

does the job when using bash, I never tested it, actually redirecting
using

2>&1

works with bash, too.


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

Dave Stevens
In reply to this post by Oliver Grawert
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:43:45 +0100
Oliver Grawert <[hidden email]> wrote:

> sudo apt install
> shellcheck

great hints oli, thanks!

d

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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
In reply to this post by Oliver Grawert
On Sat, 2019-02-16 at 22:43 +0100, Oliver Grawert wrote:
> add "set -ex" to the top of your script

Indeed, "#!/bin/ [...]" at the beginning of a script allows to use kinda
"debugging" options, too.

IIRC

#!/bin/bash -ex

could be used instead of

#!/bin/bash

set -ex

I just wonder how this could be useful, if it's intended that a command
could either finish with exit status 0 or another status. Actually a
script is a set of rules to interact regarding different exit statuses
("statuses" wow, an English plural that hurts as hell).





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[off-topic] Debugging bash scripts.

ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 2019-02-16 at 23:10 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
> Actually a script is a set of rules to interact regarding different exit statuses
> ("statuses" wow, an English plural that hurts as hell).

Don't worry, while the English language has got some painful plurals,
the German language comes with some completely "off" translations of Old
Greek or Latin vocabulary, for example "Suizid/Suicidium" is "suicide"
in English, but the German words are usually "Selbstmord, Freitod etc."
all containing a value judgment already by the German word, something
that hurts way more, than obscure plurals.





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Re: [off-topic] Debugging bash scripts.

Liam Proven
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 at 23:40, Ralf Mardorf via ubuntu-users
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Don't worry, while the English language has got some painful plurals,

Are you talking to yourself? :-)

I would use something like "different exit status values" to avoid
trying to pluralise "status". ;-)


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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by ubuntu-users mailing list
On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 at 19:10, Ralf Mardorf via ubuntu-users
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>  a bash script
> is "just" a set of rules to run programs.

I think that is not fair or accurate.

I have not looked into the question of whether Bash is
Turing-complete, but it is a proper programming language, with
variables, branches (conditional execution), and looping.

As such, it's as prone to bugs as any other language.

The point I might agree with you on is that, in my very limited
experience, the use of a separate debugger tool is something mainly
used with compiled languages, where you are trying to work out what is
going wrong with a binary executable. A sort of "black box".

In interpreted languages, debugging can consist of pausing the
program, looking at variable values, maybe modifying them, resuming,
jumping to a different execution point, test-running fragments of
code, etc. All this is hard or impossible to do in compiled languages.
That is why they have separate debuggers.

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Re: Debugging bash scripts.

Mike Marchywka

>_________________________________
>From: ubuntu-users <[hidden email]> on behalf of Liam Proven <[hidden email]>
>Sent: Monday, February 18, 2019 5:49 AM
>To: Ubuntu user technical support, not for general discussions
>Subject: Re: Debugging bash scripts.
>
>On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 at 19:10, Ralf Mardorf via ubuntu-users
><[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>  a bash script
>> is "just" a set of rules to run programs.
>
>I think that is not fair or accurate.
>
>I have not looked into the question of whether Bash is
>Turing-complete, but it is a proper programming language, with
>variables, branches (conditional execution), and looping.
>
>As such, it's as prone to bugs as any other language.
>
>The point I might agree with you on is that, in my very limited
>experience, the use of a separate debugger tool is something mainly
>used with compiled languages, where you are trying to work out what is
>going wrong with a binary executable. A sort of "black box".
>

From what I have observed, it is used different than say javascript
for which browsers have debuggers and it is not similar to say BASIC.
I guess personally just longer error messages would help with bash per
se but usually these are easy to fix when you find them.
The way bash is normally used you may end up debugging the programs
it invokes more than bash syntax. For that and learning I just
end up dumping everything and making methods for that basics
so you can go into debug mode with a few conditionals.

The condescending c++ errors mesages can be very helpful :)


fwiw.


>In interpreted languages, debugging can consist of pausing the
>program, looking at variable values, maybe modifying them, resuming,
>jumping to a different execution point, test-running fragments of
>code, etc. All this is hard or impossible to do in compiled languages.
>That is why they have separate debuggers.
>
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 2295 Collinworth  Drive Marietta GA 30062.  formerly 487 Salem Woods Drive Marietta GA 30067 404-788-1216 (C)<- leave message 989-348-4796 (P)<- emergency


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Re: [off-topic] Debugging bash scripts.

Peter Flynn
In reply to this post by Liam Proven
On 18/02/2019 10:45, Liam Proven wrote:
> On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 at 23:40, Ralf Mardorf via ubuntu-users
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Don't worry, while the English language has got some painful plurals,
>
> Are you talking to yourself? :-)
>
> I would use something like "different exit status values" to avoid
> trying to pluralise "status". ;-)

I don't worry about it. The plural of status in English is statuses --
the word has been in the English language for over 200 years, so it has
lost its Latin behaviour.

Peter

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