10 Commands Every Linux Newbie Should Know – Part 1


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Newbies always think Linux distros are hard or difficult to understand so far as the terminal is concerned. Most of them nearly went back to the operating system they were using previously. But got used to the system since there are people in the community who are always ready to help newbies.

Almost every Linux geek today have gone through the same thing and knows how it feels to be in the shoes of a newbie.

Since they (advanced users) were also helped by others to get used to things as newbies, the cycle continues. Yes, this is why the community will continue to grow at a rate we can’t even describe.

Today am going to show any Linux newbie who is finding things very difficult with the terminal.

NOTE: The angle brackets (< and >) in this tutorial are not part of the commands. (Please do not type them)

1. whoami

The command above when separated into individual words reads “Who am I”. This is just asking someone who knows your name already, what is my name? It displays the name of the current user in the terminal.

enock@enock-pc:~$ whoami

2. ls

ls is used to list the contents of a directory.  Some options that can be added to ls are ; -l which prints out a long list, -a shows hidden files, -r sort listing in the reverse way, -t sort list by time (last modified)

enock@enock-pc:~$ ls -lt
total 64
drwxr-xr-x 3 enock enock 4096 Jul 16 20:44 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x 3 enock enock 4096 Jul 16 20:44 Downloads
drwxr-xr-x 7 enock enock 4096 Jul 15 16:29 Documents
drwxr-xr-x 6 enock enock 4096 Jul 14 00:52 Videos
drwxrwxr-x 5 enock enock 4096 Jul 14 00:49 Code
drwxr-xr-x 17 enock enock 4096 Jul 7 15:46 Music
drwxr-xr-x 6 enock enock 4096 Jul 7 15:46 Pictures
drwxrwxr-x 2 enock enock 4096 Jun 20 18:10 iso
drwxrwxr-x 3 enock enock 4096 Jun 14 05:44 Mixxx

3. mkdir

mkdir is used to create a new directory (new folder) ie.

mkdir <directoryname>

4. pwd

pwd (print working directory) prints out the path of the current working directory.

enock@enock-pc:~$ pwd

5. mv

mv is used move (rename) files.

$ mv <old name> <new name>

6. man

man finds and displays the manual of a command.

$ man <command>

It also display its own manual. ie

enock@enock-pc:~$ man man

7. cd

Changes working directory to the specified directory after cd. cd without any parameter changes directory to HOME directory of user. 

$ cd <directory>

To move one step up the current directory, use:

$ cd ..

8. rm

rm is used to remove or delete files. Removing a file on Linux is permanent, recovering it might be very difficult. Using options such as –r recursive and –f force are very dangerous. Always, the rm command is used in the format rm –i. The option –i prompts to see whether you are sure or not.

Type y for Yes or n for No and press Enter.

enock@enock-pc:~$ rm -i unixmen
rm: remove regular file ‘unixmen’? y

9. cal

This displays calendar, mostly the current month and day. It can also be used in addition with any year to view the full calendar of that year. ie $ cal 2013 , displays the full 12 months calendar for the year 2013.

enock@enock-pc:~$ cal
 July 2013
 Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
       1   2    3    4    5   6
   7   8   9  10  11 12 13
 14 15 16 17  18 19 20
 21 22  23 24 25 26 27
 28 29 30 31

10. date

Prints out the current date in a long format including time zone

enock@enock-pc:~$ date
Wed Jul 17 05:27:07 GMT 2013