Unix Bash Shell Scripts
There are whole books written on how to code unix shells scripts. Unix shell scripts are as powerful as any programming language. I think the famous C/C++ 'make' utility is one such example. Unix usually starts up it's users with the Bash shell and I'll provide some simple examples here later. C Shell is another popular Unix alternative. Born shell is yet another.
Note that If you provide shell scripts in your distribution you will probably be providing DOS batch scripts as well. Ant is the better solution in the Java world. And uses XML for its scripting language. Ant and xml are system independent making Ant the better solution.