Quantcast

The 15 Commands Essential for Unix

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:
[ Business]

Learning UNIX is a seemingly daunting task, there are thousands of commands out there, each with hundreds of options. But in reality you only need to know a few of them.

I use unix quite a bit, usually either on one of our Linux servers, or on my Powerbook with OS X. And these are the 15 commands that I use most. If you can memorize these 15 commands, you can do quite a bit on a unix operating system, and add unix as a skill on your resume.

The 15 Most Important UNIX commands

1. man - show manual for a command, example: man ls hit q to exit the man page.

2. cd – change directory, example: cd /etc/

3. ls – list directory, similar to dir on windows. example: ls /etc, use ls -l /etc to see more detail

4. cp – copy a file or directory, example: cp source dest if you want to copy a directory use the -R option for recursive: cp -R /source /dest

5. mv – move a file, example: mv source dest

6. rm – remove a file, example: rm somefile to remove a directory you may need the -R option, you can also use the -f option which tells it not to confirm each file: rm -Rf /dir

7. cat - concatenate, or output a file cat /var/log/messages

8. more – outputs one page of a file and pauses. example: more /var/log/messages press q to exit before getting to the bottom. You can also pipe to more | more from other commands, for example ls -l /etc | more

9. scp – secure copy, copies a file over SSH to another server. example: scp /local/file user@host.com:/path/to/save/file

10. tar – tape archiver, tar takes a bunch of files, and munges them into one .tar file, the files are often compressed with the gzip algorithm, and use the .tar.gz extension. to create a tar tar -cf archive.tar /directory, then to extract the archive to the current directory run tar -xf archive.tar to use gzip, just add a z to the options, to create a tar.gz: tar -czf archive.tar.gz /dir to extract it tar -xzf archive.tar.gz

11. grep – pattern matcher, grep takes a regular expression, or to match a simple string you can use fast grep, fgrep failure /var/log/messages, I’m usually just looking for a simple pattern so I tend to use fgrep more than regular grep.

12. find – lists files and directories recursively on a single line, I usually pipe grep into the mix when I use find, eg: find / | fgrep log

13. tail – prints the last few lines of a file, this is handy for checking log files tail /var/log/messages if you need see more lines, use the -n option, tail -n 50 /var/log/messages you can also use the -f option, which will continuously show you the end of the file as things are added to it (very handy for watching logs) tail -f /var/log/messages

14. head – same as tail, but shows the first few lines the file

15. vi – text editor, there are several text editors such as emacs, and nano, but vi is usually installed on any server so its a good one to learn. To edit a file type vi file to edit a line press Esc i then to save changes and exit use Esc wq, or to quit without saving use Esc q!. There are a million other commands, but that will enable you to edit files at a basic level.

Once you learn these commands, and are comfortable with them, you shouldn’t stop there, there are lots of other commands that can make your life easier.

Did I miss any commands that you think are essential to using a UNIX based operating system?

*Originally published at Pete Freitag’s Homepage

Tag:

Add to Del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit | Furl

Bookmark WebProNews:

Pete Freitag (http://www.petefreitag.com/) is a software engineer, and
web developer located in central new york. Pete specializes in the
HTTP protocol, web services, xml, java, and coldfusion. In 2003 Pete
published the ColdFusion MX Developers Cookbook with SAMs Publishing.

Pete owns a Firm called Foundeo (http://foundeo.com/) that specializes
in Web Consulting, and Products for Web Developers.

The 15 Commands Essential for Unix
Comments Off
About Pete Freitag
Pete Freitag (http://www.petefreitag.com/) is a software engineer, and web developer located in central new york. Pete specializes in the HTTP protocol, web services, xml, java, and coldfusion. In 2003 Pete published the ColdFusion MX Developers Cookbook with SAMs Publishing.

Pete owns a Firm called Foundeo (http://foundeo.com/) that specializes in Web Consulting, and Products for Web Developers. WebProNews Writer
Top Rated White Papers and Resources

Comments are closed.