What does rc mean in bashr, zshrc, vimrc etc?

serhatteker profile image Serhat Teker Originally published at tech.serhatteker.com on ・1 min read

For the meaning of rc you have probably seen:

  • run commands
  • resource control
  • run control
  • runtime configuration

I'd like to go with runcom since as seen in this source: Unix faqs:

rc (as in ".cshrc" or "/etc/rc") = "RunCom"

"rc" derives from "runcom", from the MIT CTSS system, ca. 1965.

'There was a facility that would execute a bunch of
commands stored in a file; it was called "runcom" for "run
commands", and the file began to be called "a runcom."

"rc" in Unix is a fossil from that usage.'

— Brian Kernighan & Dennis Ritchie, as told to Vicki Brown

Also ESR states that in Run-Control Files:

[101] The ‘rc’ suffix goes back to Unix's grandparent, CTSS. It had a command-script feature called "runcom". Early Unixes used ‘rc’ for the name of the operating system's boot script, as a tribute to CTSS runcom.

So my mind is set to runcom.

All done!

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Serhat Teker


Uomo Universale | Software Engineer | Entrepreneur | builds systems | py:js:go |


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