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Check if a command is available in your system

Terminal - Check if a command is available in your system
type {command} >/dev/null
2011-06-22 15:30:57
User: h3nr1x
Functions: type
Check if a command is available in your system

Usefull to detect if a commad that your script relies upon is properly installed in your box, you can use it as a function

function is_program_installed() {

type "$1" >/dev/null


Invoke it and check the execution code

is_program_installed "dialog"

if [ ! $? -eq 0 ]; then

echo "dialog is not installed"

exit 1



There are 14 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
for c in gcc bison dialog bc asdf; do if ! which $c >/dev/null; then echo Required program $c is missing ; exit 1; fi; done

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

Useful, but note: the command must be in your PATH for this to work.

Comment by flatcap 223 weeks and 4 days ago

I agree with @flatcap.

Also, if it's in your path, you could simply invoke:


This will give you the full path to the binary.

Comment by peterRepeater 219 weeks ago

which type prints nothing

type type > /dev/null; echo $? prints 0 (which means the command is available)

"type {command} >/dev/null" checks for all the commands available, included the built-in ones, "which" only checks for commands in the system-path

Comment by h3nr1x 219 weeks ago

Your point of view

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