Bash is one of those things that you just don’t think about all that much – until you want something that is apparently new. In my case I was looking to use the ** syntax which, mysteriously, I found doesn’t work at all on OSX (even if you turn it on). This let me to use bash –version.

Here’s the result for Linux:

bash --version
GNU bash, version 4.3.11(1)-release (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)
Copyright (C) 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>

This is free software; you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

Here’s the result for OSX:

bash --version
GNU bash, version 3.2.57(1)-release (x86_64-apple-darwin15)
Copyright (C) 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Intellectually I’ve always known that OSX lagged behind on Open Source tooling but 6 years behind??? Really??? Apparently this is a GPL v3 issue so I get it but sigh.

Upgrading Bash on OSX

I will admit that I am absolutely terrified to try upgrading Bash on OSX since I eat, sleep and breathe in the terminal. The research I’ve done shows me that you can upgrade your Bash to a version 4 series with just this brew command:

brew install bash

And HomeBrew is awesome so I suspect it works; I’m just chicken.

More on Upgrading Bash: ClubMate Stack Overflow

Sidebar: The ** Syntax Explained

The ** syntax allows the file globbing to operate recursively with a single command. For example:

wc -l **/*.rb

would count all the lines of ruby code across all subdirectories. If you haven’t enabled ** then you can do this with:

shopt -s globstar

I first the ** syntax on Stack Overflow here. Thank you Michael Wild.