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1.3. Commands on Linux

Linux commands are not the same as standard Unix ones. They're better! This is because most of them are provided by the GNU project run by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). GNU means "GNU's Not Unix" -- the first word of the phrase is supposed to be expanded with infinite recursion.

Benefiting from years of experience with standard Unix utilities and advances in computer science, programmers on the GNU project have managed to create versions of standard tools that have more features, run faster and more efficiently, and lack the bugs or inconsistencies that persist in the original standard versions.

While GNU provided the programming utilities and standard commands like grep, most of the system and network administration tools on Linux came from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). In addition, some people wrote tools specifically for Linux to deal with special issues such as filesystems that only Linux supports. This book documents all the standard Unix commands that are commonly available on most Linux distributions.

The third type of software most commonly run on Linux is the X Window System, ported by the XFree86 project to standard Intel chips. While this book cannot cover the wide range of utilities that run on X, we briefly cover some of the useful customizations you may want to make to your KDE, GNOME, or fvwm desktop.

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