Ubuntu Server: changing default shell

I love just about everything about Ubuntu Server, except that it doesn’t issue bash as the default shell for new users. It does for the root user, but not for every other user, which is a bit odd.

Not a problem though, because changing the default shell in Ubuntu is pretty easy. So if you’re ever in a position where you want to change your shell environment, you have 2 easy options.

The first is to use the chsh command. In some cases, you may be able to run something like:

 chsh /bin/bash

Though when I run that in Ubuntu Server 13.04 I get the following error message: chsh: unknown user /bin/bash.

Fortunately the second option is just as easy: you can also specify your preferred shell in the /etc/passwd file. All that’s needed is to find the desired user and change /bin/sh to whatever shell you wish to use. In my case I prefer bash, so all I had to do was change the following line from …


… to …


And that’s it. Now when you login you should noticed that you get your preferred shell by default.

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