Sign up ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Is there any long-form, if at all? Or is it just a tradition from the 80's?

share|improve this question
Similar question at unix.stackexchange: What does “rc” in .bashrc stand for? –  Sid Jan 27 '11 at 11:10
Similar question on Super User: What does the 'rc' in .bashrc, etc. mean? –  Gilles Dec 6 '13 at 12:34

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I've heard

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

Personally, I'd go with run control, because ESR says so.

His footnote says:

 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.

Wikipedia chooses "run commands" as the default long-form, but admits that context should determine word choice.

 While not historically precise, rc may also be pronou-
 nced as "run control", because an rc file controls how
 a program runs. For instance, the editor Vim looks for
 and reads the contents of the .vimrc file to determine
 its initial configuration. The most sensible pronunci-
 ation depends on the function of the file: to start
 something up, or to control how something starts up.

share|improve this answer
ESR’s »runcom«, however, does not suggest »run control«, unless there is a rule for transoforming n to m that I don’t know about. –  MPi Jan 27 '11 at 8:19

According to this source -- -- it means "run commands"

share|improve this answer
See also here… –  Joril Jan 27 '11 at 7:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.