How to install bash shell in Alpine Linux


ow do I install bash shell in my Alpine Linux LXD (Linux Container) virtual machine (VM)?


Alpine Linux comes with BusyBox. It is described as, “The Swiss Army Knife of Embedded Linux.” BusyBox combines tiny versions of many common UNIX utilities into a single small executable including /bin/sh. By default, bash is not included with BusyBox and Alpine Linux.

How do install bash in Alpine Linux

It is easy to have bash installed but this does not mean the symlinks to busybox are gone. The syntax is:

# apk update

# apk upgrade

# apk add bash


Sample outputs:

(1/5) Installing ncurses-terminfo-base (6.0-r7)

(2/5) Installing ncurses-terminfo (6.0-r7)

(3/5) Installing ncurses-libs (6.0-r7)

(4/5) Installing readline (6.3.008-r5)

(5/5) Installing bash (4.3.48-r1)


Executing busybox-1.26.2-r5.trigger

OK: 14 MiB in 21 packages

To install bash documentation, enter:

# apk add bash-doc


To install bash automatic command line completion install, run:

# apk add bash-completion


Sample session:

Fig.01: How to get bash working on Alpine Linux


To use bash as a shell just type bash:

$ bash


To login to alpine Linux LXD vm from host, enter:

$ lxc exec alpine-lxd-vm-name-here bash


To change root shell to bash, enter:

# vi /etc/passwd


Find user name and the default shell such as /bin/ash:


Replace it with /bin/bash:


Customize bash shell

Here is a sample file:

cat ~/.bashrc


Sample outputs:

alias update= apk update && apk upgrade

export HISTTIMEFORMAT= %d/%m/%y %T

export PS1= \u@\h:\W \$

alias l= ls -CF

alias la= ls -A

alias ll= ls -alF

alias ls= ls –color=auto

source /etc/profile.d/

See Customize the bash shell environments wiki page for more info.



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