The basename utility deletes any prefix ending in / and the suffix (if present in string) from string, and prints the result on the standard output. It is normally used inside substitution marks (` `) within shell procedures.
The suffix is a pattern defined on the expr(1) manual page.
The suffix is a string with no special significance attached to any of the characters it contains.
The dirname utility delivers all but the last level of the path name in string.
The following example, invoked with the argument /home/sms/personal/mail sets the environment variable NAME to the file named mail and the environment variable MYMAILPATH to the string /home/sms/personal:
example% NAME=`basename $HOME/personal/mail` example% MYMAILPATH=`dirname $HOME/personal/mail`
This shell procedure, invoked with the argument /usr/src/bin/cat.c, compiles the named file and moves the output to cat in the current directory:
example% cc $1 example% mv a.out `basename $1 .c`
See environ(5) for descriptions of the following environment variables that affect the execution of basename and dirname: LANG, LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES, and NLSPATH.
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes: