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1.4. Beginner's Guide

If you're just beginning to work on a Unix system, the abundance of commands might prove daunting. To help orient you, the following lists present a small sampling of commands on various topics.

1.4.1. Communication

ftpFile transfer protocol.
loginSign on to Unix.
mailxRead or send mail.
rloginSign on to remote Unix.
talkWrite to other terminals.
telnetConnect to another system.
vacationRespond to mail automatically.

1.4.2. Comparisons

cmpCompare two files, byte by byte.
commCompare items in two sorted files.
diffCompare two files, line by line.
diff3Compare three files.
dircmpCompare directories.
sdiffCompare two files, side by side.

1.4.3. File Management

catConcatenate files or display them.
cdChange directory.
chmodChange access modes on files.
cpCopy files.
csplitBreak files at specific locations.
fileDetermine a file's type.
headShow the first few lines of a file.
lnCreate filename aliases.
lsList files or directories.
mkdirCreate a directory.
moreDisplay files by screenful.
mvMove or rename files or directories.
pwdPrint working directory.
rcpCopy files to remote system.
rmRemove files.
rmdirRemove directories.
splitSplit files evenly.
tailShow the last few lines of a file.
wcCount lines, words, and characters.

1.4.4. Miscellaneous

bannerMake posters from words.
bcArbitrary precision calculator.
calDisplay calendar.
calendarCheck for reminders.
clearClear the screen.
manGet information on a command.
niceReduce a job's priority.
nohupPreserve a running job after logging out.
passwdSet your login password.
scriptProduce a transcript of your login session.
spellReport misspelled words.
suBecome a superuser.

1.4.5. Printing

cancelCancel a printer request.
lpSend to the printer.
lpstatGet printer status.
prFormat and paginate for printing.

1.4.6. Programming

cbC source code “beautifier.”
ccC compiler.
cflowC function flowchart.
ctagsC function references (for vi).
ctraceC debugger using function call tracing.
cxrefC cross-references.
lintC program analyzer.
lexLexical analyzer generator.
makeExecute commands in a specified order.
odDump input in various formats.
stripRemove data from an object file.
trussTrace signals and system calls.

Parser generator. Can be used with lex.

1.4.7. Searching

egrepExtended version of grep.
fgrepSearch files for literal words.
findSearch the system for filenames.
grepSearch files for text patterns.
stringsSearch binary files for text patterns.

1.4.8. Shell Programming

echoRepeat command-line arguments on the output.
exprPerform arithmetic and comparisons.
lineRead a line of input.
printfFormat and print command-line arguments.
sleepPause during processing.
testTest a condition.

1.4.9. Storage

compressCompress files to free up space.
cpioCopy archives in or out.

Expand compressed (.gz and .Z) files (preferred).


Display contents of compressed files (may be linked to zcat).

gzipCompress files to free up space (preferred).
tarTape archiver.
uncompressExpand compressed (.Z) files.
zcatDisplay contents of compressed files.

1.4.10. System Status

atExecute commands later.
chgrpChange file group.
chownChange file owner.
crontabAutomate commands.
dateDisplay or set date.
dfShow free disk space.
duShow disk usage.
envShow environment variables.
fingerDisplay information about users.
killTerminate a running command.
psShow processes.
sttySet or display terminal settings.
whoShow who is logged on.

1.4.11. Text Processing

cutSelect columns for display.
exLine editor underlying vi.
fmtProduce roughly uniform line lengths.
joinMerge different columns into a database.

New version of awk (pattern-matching language for textual database files).

pasteMerge columns or switch order.
sedNoninteractive text editor.
sortSort or merge files.
trTranslate (redefine) characters.
uniqFind repeated or unique lines in a file.
viVisual text editor.
xargsProcess many arguments in manageable portions.

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