On Android.SE, there are some tags related to command-line interpreters:

  • : The shell is a piece of software that provides a command-line interface to the operating system. Use this tag for shell-specific issues; general command-line issues should use the 'command-line' tag instead. See the full tag wiki for other related tags.
  • : A terminal app is the way of providing a command prompt to Android devices.
  • : A "command line" is a text interface to enter commands interactively. In our context, it usually means a "Unix Shell" in a terminal app, or the ADB shell on a computer to interact with an Android device.
  • : Bash is a command processor, typically run at the command-line, allowing the user to type commands which cause actions. Bash can also read commands from a file, called a script.
  • : MirBSD Korn shell, or mksh, is a Free command interpreter (shell) intended for both interactive and shell script use. On Android 4 and newer, Android-x86 2.2 and newer, and some other variants, mksh is the system shell; older systems used ash, some older aftermarket firmwares used busybox sh. Please only add the mksh tag if the question relates to mksh.

While the excerpt looks okay, some questions are tagged with different/superfluous tags, e.g. questions tagged with both [command-line], [terminal], and [shell]

Do we need a more proper guideline usage for these tags?


"the excerpt looks okay" — I'd strongly disagree with that.

The command-line description for instance sounds like a combination of terminal and shell, with no indication of how it includes anything else. No wonder people aren't consistent in how they use these tags.

(As with many SE lists) this set of tags is neither mutually-exclusive nor collectively exhaustive.

Perhaps something like this would be better:

  • terminal: an app that emulates a screen for traditional keyboard and mouse input.
    Use this for questions about fonts, character sets, and other interface settings.

  • shell: a command-line interface for a terminal emulator, such as a Unix shell or ADB shell.
    Use this for questions about wild-card patterns, pipes, redirection, search-paths, etc.

  • bash: a specific instance of a comand-line shell.
    Use this for questions specific to the Bourne shell. (Also include the shell tag.)

  • mksh: a specific instance of a comand-line shell.
    Use this for questions specific to the MirBSD Korn shell. (Also include the shell tag.)

  • command-line: a tool designed to run within a shell.
    Use this for questions about how to use specific commands.

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