# Difference between revisions of "Dc versus bc"

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[[Category:Engineering]] | [[Category:Engineering]] | ||

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Q: What is the difference between `dc` and `bc`? | Q: What is the difference between `dc` and `bc`? | ||

A: The `dc` command is a Reverse-Polish Notation basic arithmetic calculator. | A: The `dc` command is a Reverse-Polish Notation basic arithmetic calculator. | ||

It does not support common trigonometric or scientific functions. | It does not support common trigonometric or scientific functions. | ||

− | + | Examples of `dc`: | |

$ dc -e "25.5 2 * p" | $ dc -e "25.5 2 * p" | ||

Line 15: | Line 14: | ||

The `bc` command is a front-end to `dc` (althugh the GNU `bc` is completely separate and does not compile to `dc` bytecode). | The `bc` command is a front-end to `dc` (althugh the GNU `bc` is completely separate and does not compile to `dc` bytecode). | ||

− | So `bc` is similar to `dc`, but adds a C-like syntax; standard infix notation. By default it does <strong>not</strong> include trig or other common math functions, but you include these by using the '-l' option. | + | So `bc` is similar to `dc`, but adds a C-like syntax; standard infix notation. By default it does <strong>not</strong> include trig or other common math functions, but you include these by using the '-l' option. Examples of `bc`: |

− | |||

− | |||

$ echo "scale=5; 10 / (1.5 * 2)" | bc # Note that you have to set scale to see decimals. | $ echo "scale=5; 10 / (1.5 * 2)" | bc # Note that you have to set scale to see decimals. | ||

3.33333 | 3.33333 | ||

Line 25: | Line 22: | ||

$ echo "10 / (1.5 * 2)" | bc -l # Note that '-l' option automatically sets scale to 20. | $ echo "10 / (1.5 * 2)" | bc -l # Note that '-l' option automatically sets scale to 20. | ||

3.33333333333333333333 | 3.33333333333333333333 | ||

+ | $ echo "4*a(1)" | bc -l # Note that 'a' is the arctangent function. | ||

+ | 3.14159265358979323844 | ||

+ | $ bc -l <<< '4*a(1)' # Same as previous example, but using a herefile idiom. | ||

+ | 3.14159265358979323844 | ||

+ | |||

+ | === Using bc in bash === | ||

+ | |||

+ | Trying to do even trivial math with `expr` is a pain. Bash sucks. To set a variable to an expression you end up having to write code like this: | ||

+ | |||

+ | <pre> | ||

+ | SIZE_MB=$(bc <<< '50000000/(1024*1024)') | ||

+ | </pre> |

## Latest revision as of 11:37, 7 December 2007

Q: What is the difference between `dc` and `bc`?

A: The `dc` command is a Reverse-Polish Notation basic arithmetic calculator. It does not support common trigonometric or scientific functions. Examples of `dc`:

$ dc -e "25.5 2 * p" 51.0 $ dc -e "3 2 ^ p" 9 $ dc -e "9 v p" # Note that 'v' is the sqrt operator. 3

The `bc` command is a front-end to `dc` (althugh the GNU `bc` is completely separate and does not compile to `dc` bytecode).
So `bc` is similar to `dc`, but adds a C-like syntax; standard infix notation. By default it does **not** include trig or other common math functions, but you include these by using the '-l' option. Examples of `bc`:

$ echo "scale=5; 10 / (1.5 * 2)" | bc # Note that you have to set scale to see decimals. 3.33333 $ echo "10 / (1.5 * 2)" | bc # The default scale is 0. 3 $ echo "10 / (1.5 * 2)" | bc -l # Note that '-l' option automatically sets scale to 20. 3.33333333333333333333 $ echo "4*a(1)" | bc -l # Note that 'a' is the arctangent function. 3.14159265358979323844 $ bc -l <<< '4*a(1)' # Same as previous example, but using a herefile idiom. 3.14159265358979323844

### Using bc in bash

Trying to do even trivial math with `expr` is a pain. Bash sucks. To set a variable to an expression you end up having to write code like this:

SIZE_MB=$(bc <<< '50000000/(1024*1024)')