Shellvarnia: Shell Variables Down Unix

Political map showing Shellvarnia on the left side of the continent, Flapjackia, separated from Userland (on the east coast of Flapjackia) by Environmentopia in the middle. No direct connection between Shellvarnia and Userland is shown.

Political map of continent, Flapjackia, showing countries of Shellvarnia, Environmentopia, and Userland.

This is a fun short story about the fictional land of Shellvarnia, located Down Unix, that occurred to me one night while I was reading Brian Ward‘s excellent book, How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know. Mixing one dash of political satire with a heaping serving of Unix lore, it will entertain and inform novices approaching a Linux VM for the first time.  If you’ve ever wondered about distinctions between local shell variables and environment variables, /bin/sh from /bin/csh, and who built that wall between Shellvarnia and Environmentopia, then this story was written just for you.  Continue reading