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Linux pwd Command

Introduction to pwd Command

PWD stands for Print Working Directory. It writes the complete path name of the working directory to standard output in UNIX-like and other operating systems.

Implementations of pwd Command

Multics had a command, i.e., pwd (which was an abbreviated name of the command, i.e., print_wdir), from which the Unix pwd command was produced. The PWD command is a shell builtin into almost every Unix shell, like zsh, ksh, bash, ash, and Bourne shell. It can be easily implemented with the POSIX C functions getwd() or getcwd (). Also, it is available in many operating systems, including KolibriOS, PANOS, and SpartaDOS X. The cd command, along with no arguments, is equivalent on Microsoft Windows (cmd.exe) and DOS Windows ( Windows PowerShell offers the same GET-LOCATION cmdlet with the pwd and gl standard aliases. On the 5.0 version of Windows CE, the command processor shell cmd.exe has the pwd command.

Since issue 2 of 1987, pwd has been a component of the X/Open Portability Guide as detected on Unix systems. It was acquired into the first version of the Single Unix Specification and POSIX.1. It occurred in the Version 5 Unix. The pwd version was specified by Jim Meyering and loaded with GNU coreutils.

The GNU Octave and MATLAB numerical computing environments contain a pwd function with the same functionality. The OpenVMS is the same as the show default.

Introduction to Woking Directory (Current)

The current working directory is a directory where the user is working currently. Each time we interact with our command prompt, we are working inside a directory. When we log into our Linux system, our current working directory is our home directory by default. We can use the cd command to change our working directory.

For example, we need to enter the below command in the terminal window to change the working directory to /tmp:

If you have a customized zsh or bash prompt, the current working directly path may be displayed in the shell prompt.

PWD Syntax

pwd takes the below syntax:

The options are explained in the below section.

Exit Status

pwd contains the following exit statuses:

  • Non-zero: Failure
  • Zero: Success

PWD Options and their Explanation

Options Explanation
pwd This command is used to show the current working directory. For example, /home/foobar
pwd -L This command is used to show the logical path of the current working directory with the name of the symbolic link if any. For example, if existing in a dir /home/symlinked, it's a symlink to /home/realdir; it would display /home/symlinked.
pwd -R This command is used to show the physical path of the current working directory without the name of the symbolic link if any. For example, if existing in a dir /home/symlinked, it's a symlink to /home/realdir; it would display /home/realdir.
--help It shows the help message.
--version It provides the program version.

Note: POSIX needs that are default nature be as if the -L option was provided.

Examples of PWD Command

  1. We can use the below command in the terminal window to print our current working directory:

Linux pwd Command
  1. To create a folder's symbolic link, move to the created directory and print the current working directory without symbolic links and with symbolic links.
  2. Print the current working directory through the environment, even if it includes symlinks:

Linux pwd Command
  1. Print the original physical working directory by compelling every symbolic links:

Linux pwd Command
  1. Check if the result of commands "pwd -P" and "pwd" are equivalent or not, i.e., if options are not provided at the runtime, does pwd automatically takes the -P option into account or not?
  2. We can use the below command to print the version of our pwd command:

Linux pwd Command

Note: The pwd command is never applied with arguments and is used often without options.

Important: We might have seen that we are running the command as /bin/pwd, not pwd, which is mentioned above.

So, what is the difference?

pwd alone describes shell built-in pwd. Our shell may contain different pwd versions. We recommend referencing the manual. We are calling a binary version of the command if we are using /bin/pwd. Both the binary and the shell versions of the command will print the current working directory, so the binary version contains more options.

  1. We can use the following command to print every location having pwd executable:

Linux pwd Command
  1. Store the pwd command's value in any variable and print the value from this variable (essential from the perspective of shell scripting).
    In the above example, we can alternatively use printf.
Linux pwd Command
  1. Change the working directory to another directory and show it in the terminal window. We can also run the ls command to verify it's ok.
Linux pwd Command
  1. Set multi-line terminal window:
    And then, run the ls command to see if everything is ok.
Linux pwd Command
Next TopicLinux CD Command

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