Hamilton C Shell

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Originally released in 1988 for OS/2 1.x as a commercially supported clone of the Berkeley C shell alongside 20 other utilities that made using the shell and porting Berkeley C script files to OS/2 easier. The Berkeley C shell is a shell that was originally supplied as an alternative shell for the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), it had a batch language that was much more C like than what the traditional UNIX shells offered, the original C Shell however uses a slow interpreter for executing its batch files while the Hamilton version actually uses a built in compiler.

The original release for OS/2 1.x allows you to use 64k heaps for command lines and pipes, meaning that you can have command lines considerably longer than the 256 character limit of the CMD.EXE.


  • Dec 1988: 1.0 - first release for OS/2 1.0
  • Jan 1989: 1.01 - final release for OS/2 1.0
  • Feb 1989: 1.02 - first release for OS/2 1.1 (PM)
  • Mar 1989: 1.03 - base release for OS/2 1.1
  • Aug 1989: 1.04 - Command line editing and filename and command completion added.
  • Mar 1990: 1.05 - Support for OS/2 1.2, HPFS and long filenames, new utilities: grep, diff, head, tail, sed
  • Feb 1991: 1.06 - user-defined screen colors, inheritable local variables
  • Jul 1992: 2.0 - 32-bit release for Windows NT (i386, MIPS, AXP)


License and availability

  • Closed source commercial software, the OS/2 version of the Hamilton C Shell was discontinued in 2003, the Windows version is still being sold.
  • Original list price in 1990 was 350 USD.

Author & publisher

  • Hamilton Laboratories
  • Nicole Hamilton