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This is my own summary of useful Linux abbreviations, directories, files, and commands. I use my own annotations to recall useful options and arguments that are not necessarily documented in easy-to-find places. I quite often call up this file when I can't remember the syntax of a command that I use often (but not often enough to remember the syntax!). I also editorialize on the relative usefulness of different types of programs.
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Some Useful Linux Commands
Steve Ambler
February 2002
1 Introduction
2 Shorthand at theCommand Prompt
3 Typical Dot Files
4 Useful Files
5 Important Directories
6 Important Bash Shell Variables
7 Important Daemons and Startup Services
8 Window Managers
9 Alphabetical List of Principal Commands
10 Notes on Applications
10.1 Mail Transfer Agents (MTAs)
10.2 Mail User Agents (MUAs)
10.3 Editors
10.4 Other
11 Some Nifty Slogans
12 References
1 Introduction
This is my own summary of useful Linux abbreviations, directories, files, and commands. I use my own annotations to recall useful options and
arguments that are not necessarily documented in easy-to-find places. I quite often call up this file when I can't remember the syntax of a command
that I use often (but not often enough to remember the syntax!). I also editorialize on the relative usefulness of different types of programs.
This document is work in progress. Send suggested changes and corrections to
O'Reilly has just published online an alphabetical list of commands from Linux in a Nutshell. It is available here. It contains more detailed
explanations of many of the commands listed here.
2 Shorthand at the Command Prompt
Some of these are specific to the bash shell. I have not experimented enough with other shells to know which are common to all shells. See also the
``Bash Reference Card'', SSC (2000), available online.
/ - root directory
./ - current directory
./command_name - run a command in the current directory when the current directory is not on the path
../ - parent directory
~- home directory
$ - typical prompt when logged in as ordinary user
# - typical prompt when logged in as root or superuser
! - repeat specified command
!! - repeat previous command
^^ - repeat previous command with substitution
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& - run a program in background mode
[Tab][Tab] - prints a list of all available commands. This is just an example of autocomplete with no restriction on the first letter.
x[Tab][Tab] - prints a list of all available completions for a command, where the beginning is ``x''
[Alt][Ctrl][F1] - switch tothe first virtual text console
[Alt][Ctrl][Fn] - switch to the nth virtual text console. Typically, there are six on a Linux PC system.
[Alt][Ctrl][F7] - switch tothe first GUIconsole, if there is one running. If the graphicalconsole freezes, one can switch to a
nongraphical console, kill the process that is giving problems, and switch back to the graphical console using this shortcut.
[ArrowUp] - scroll through the command history (in bash)
[Shift][PageUp] - scroll terminal output up. This also works at the login prompt, so you can scroll through your boot messages.
[Shift][PageDown] - scroll terminal output down
[Ctrl][Alt][+] - switch to next X server resolution (if the server is set up for more than one resolution)
[Ctrl][Alt][-] - change to previous X server resolution
[Ctrl][Alt][BkSpc] - kill the current X server. Used when normal exit is not possible.
[Ctrl][Alt][Del] - shut down the system and reboot
[Ctrl]c - kill the current process
[Ctrl]d - logout from the current terminal
[Ctrl]s - stop transfer to current terminal
[Ctrl]q - resume transfer to current terminal. This should be tried if the terminal stops responding.
[Ctrl]z - send current process to the background
reset - restore a terminal to its default settings
[Leftmousebutton] - Hold down left mouse button and drag to highlight text. Releasing the button copies the region to the text buffer
under X and (if gpm is installed) in console mode.
[Middlemousebutton] - Copies text from the text buffer and inserts it at the cursor location. With a two-button mouse, click on both
buttons simultaneously. It is necessary for three-button emulation to be enabled, either under gpm or in XF86Config.
3 Typical Dot Files
There is some redundancy across these programs. For example, the look and behavior ofemacs can be customized by usinng the .emacs file, but also
by adding the appropriate modifications to the .Xdefaults file. Default versions of these files are often installed in users' home directories when the
software packages that use them are installed. If a program doesn't find its configuration file in the user's home directory, it will often fall back on a
sytem-wide default configuration file installed in one of the subdirectories that the package lives in.
.bash_logout - file executed by bash shell on logout
.bash_profile - initialization of bash shell run only on login. Bash looks first for a .bash_profile file when started as a login shell or with the -
login option. If it does not find .bash_profile, it looks for .bash_login. If it doesn't find that, it looks for .profile. System-wide functions and
aliases go in /etc/bashrc and default environment variables go in /etc/profile.
.bashrc - initialization command run when bash shell starts up as a non-login shell
.cshrc - initialization commands that are run automatically (like autoexec.bat) when C shell is initiated
.emacs - configuration file for emacs editor
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.fvwmrc - configuration file for fvwm window manager
.fvwm2rc - configuration file for fvwm2 window manager
.jedrc - configuration file for the jed text editor
.lessrc - typically contains key bindingsfor cursor movement with theless command
.login - initializationfile when user logs in
.logout - commands run when user logs out
.wm_style - gives choice of default window manager if one is not specified in startx
.Xdefaults - sets up X resources for individual user. The behavior of many different application programs can be changed by modifying this
.xinitrc - initialization file when running startx. Can be used to activate applications, run a given window manager, and modify the appearance
of the root window.
.xsession - configuration file for xdm
4 Useful Files
/boot/vmlinuz - the typical location and name of the Linux kernel. In the Slackware distribution, the kernel is located at /vmlinuz.
/dev/fd0 - first floppy disk drive
/dev/fd0H1440 - driver for the first floppy drive in high density mode. Generally, this is invoked when formatting a floppy drive for a particular
density. Slackware comes with drivers that allow for formattinga 3.5" diskette with up to1.7MB of space. Red Hat and Mandrake do not
contain these device driver files by default.
/dev/fd1 - second floppy disk drive
/dev/hda - first IDE hard drive
/dev/hdc - on many machines, theIDE cdrom drive. Most often, there is a symbolic link called /dev/cdrom which is just a link to the true
cdrom driver file.
/dev/null - used when you want to send output into oblivion
/etc/aliases - file containing aliasesused by sendmail and other MTAs (mail transport agents). After updating this file, it is necessary to run the
newaliases utility for the changes to be passed to sendmail.
/etc/bashrc - system-wide default functions and aliases for the bash shell
/etc/conf.modules - aliases and options for configurable modules
/etc/crontab - shell scriptto run different commands periodically (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
/etc/DIR_COLORS - usedto store colors for different filetypes when using ls command. The dircolors commanduses this filewhen there is
not a .dir_colors file in the user's home directory. Used in conjunction with the eval command (see below).
/etc/exports - specifies hosts to which file systems can be exported using NFS. Man exports contains informationon how to set up this file for
remote users.
/etc/fstab - contains informationon partitions and filesystems used by system to mount different partitions and devices on the directory tree
/etc/HOSTNAME - stores the name of the host computer
/etc/hosts - contains a list of host names and absolute IP addresses.
/etc/hosts.allow - hosts allowed (by the tcpd daemon) to access Internet services
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/etc/hosts.deny - hosts forbidden (by the tcpd daemon) to access Internet services
/etc/group - similar to /etc/passwd but for groups
/etc/inetd.conf - configures the inetd daemon to tell it what TCP/IP services to provide (which daemons to load at boot time). A good start to
securing a Linux box is to turn off these services unless they are necessary.
/etc/inittab - runsdifferent programs and processes on startup. This is typically the program which is responsible for, among other things,
setting the default runlevel, running the rc.sysinit script contained in /etc/rc.d, setting up virtual login terminals, bringing down the system in an
orderly fashion in response to [Ctrl][Alt][Del], running the rc script in /etc/rc.d, and running xdm for a graphical login prompt (only if
the default runlevel is set for a graphical login).
/etc/issue - pre-login message. This is often overwitten by the /etc/rc.d/rc.S script (in Slackware) or by the /etc/rc.d/rc.local script (in Mandrake
and Red Hat, and perhaps other rpm-based distributions). The relevant lines should be commented out (or changed) in these scripts if a custom
pre-login message is desired.
/etc/lilo.conf - configuration file for lilo boot loader
/etc/motd - message of the day file, printed immediately after login. This is often overwritten by /etc/rc.d/rc.S (Slackware) or /etc/rc.d/rc.local
(Mandrake/Red Hat) on startup. See the remarks in connection with /etc/issue.
/etc/mtab - shows currently mounted devices and partitions and their status
/etc/passwd - contains passwords and other information concerning users who are registered to use the system. For obvious security reasons,
this is readable only by root. It can be modified by root directly, but it is preferable to use a configuration utility such aspasswd to make the
changes. A corrupt /etc/passwd file can easily render a Linux box unusable.
/etc/printcap - shows the setup of printers
/etc/profile -sets system-wide defaults for bash shell. It is this file in Slackware that sets up the DIR_COLORS environment variable for the
color ls command. Also sets up other system-wide environment variables.
/etc/resolv.conf - contains a list of domain name servers used by the local machine
/etc/securetty - contains a listof terminals on which root can login. For security reasons, this should not include dialup terminals.
/etc/termcap - ASCII database defining the capabilities and characteristics of different consoles, terminals, and printers
/etc/X11/XF86Config - X configuration file. The location in Slackware is /etc/XF86Config.
/proc/cpuinfo - cpu information
/proc/filesystems - prints filesystems currently in use
/proc/interrupts - prints interrupts currently in use
/proc/ioports - contains a list of the i/o addresses used by various devices connected to the computer
/proc/kcore - The command ls -l /proc/kcore will give the amount of RAM on the computer. It's also possible to use the free command to get the
same information (and more).
/proc/version - prints Linux version and other info
/var/log/messages - used by syslog daemon to store kernel boot-time messages
/var/log/lastlog - used by system to store information about last boot
/var/log/wtmp - contains binary data indicating login times and duration for each user on system
5 Important Directories
Different distributions have different directory structures, despite attempts at standardization such as the the Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard
(FHS) organization.
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/bin - essential UNIX commands such as ls, etc. Should contain all binaries needed to boot the system or run it in single-user mode
/boot - files used during booting and possibly the kernel itself are stored here
/dev - contains device files for various devices on system
/etc - files usedby subsystems such as networking, NFS, and mail. Includes tables of disks to mount, processesto run on startup, etc.
/etc/profile.d -contains scripts that are run by /etc/profile upon login.
/etc/rc.d - contains a number of shell scripts that are run on bootup at different run levels. There is also typically an rc.inet1 script to set up
networking (in Slackwar), an rc.modules script to loadmodular device drivers, and an rc.local script that can be edited to run commands desired
by the administrator, along the lines of autoexec.bat in DOS.
/etc/rc.d/init.d - contains most of the initialization scripts themselves on an rpm-based system.
/etc/rc.d/rc*.d - where ``*'' is a number corresponding to the default run level. Contains files for services to be started and stopped at that run
level. On rpm-based systems, these files are symbolic links to theinitialization scripts themselves, which are in /etc/rc.d/init.d.
/etc/skel - directory containing several example or skeleton initialization shells. Often contains subdirectories and files used to populate a new
user's home directory.
/etc/X11 - configuration files for the X Window system
/home - home directories of individual users
/lib - standard shared library files
/lib/modules -modular device driver files, most with.o extensions
/mnt - typical mount point for many user-mountable devices such as floppy drives, cd-rom readers, etc. Each device is mounted on a
subdirectory of /mnt.
/proc - virtual file system that provides a number of system statistics
/root - home directory for root
/sbin - location of binaries used for system administration, configuration, and monitoring
/tmp - directory specifically designed for programs and users tostore temporary files.
/usr -directory containing a number of subdirectory with programs, libraries, documentation, etc.
/usr/bin - contains most user commands. Should not contain binaries necessary for booting the system, which go in /bin. The /bin directory is
generally located on the same disk partition as /, which is mounted in read-only mode during the boot process. Other filesystems are only
mounted at a later stage during startup, so putting binaries essential for boot here is not a good idea.
/usr/bin/X11 - most often a symbolic link to /usr/X11R6/bin, which contains executable binaries related to the X Window system
/usr/doc - location of miscellaneous documentation, and the main location of program documentation files under Slackware
/usr/include - standard location of include files used in C programs such as stdio.h
/usr/info - primary location of the GNU info system files
/usr/lib - standard library files such as libc.a. Searched by the linker when programs are compiled.
/usr/lib/X11 - X Window system distribution
/usr/local/bin - yet another place to look for comon executables
/usr/man - location of manual page files
/usr/sbin - other commands used by superuser for system administration
/usr/share - contains subdirectories where many installed programs have configuration, setup and auxiliary files
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/usr/share/doc - location of program documentation files under Mandrake and Red Hat
/usr/src - location of source programs used to build system. Source code for programs of all types are often unpacked in this directory.
/usr/src/linux - often a symbolic link to a subdirectory whose name corresponds to the exact version of the Linuxkernel that is running.
Contains the kernel sources.
/var - administrative files such as log files, used by various utilities
/var/log/packages - contains files, each of which has detailed information on an installed package in Slackware. The same file can also be found
at /var/adm/packages, since the adm subdirectory is a symbolic link to log. Each package file contains a short description plus a list of all
installed files.
/var/log/scripts -package installation scripts inSlackware are stored here. You can inspect these scripts tosee what special featuresare included
in individual packages.
/var/spool - temporary storage for files being printed, mail that has not yet been picked up, etc.
6 Important Bash Shell Variables
These variables are most often inherited or declared when a shell is started. A great reference for bash shell variable, bash builtin commands, and
bash in general is SSC (2000).
HOME - home directory, abbreviated as ~
MAIL - name of file that mail is stored in (mailbox)
MAILCHECK - sets the frequency at which bash checks for mail
PATH - directory paths to search for executable files. According to A Practical Guide to Linux, p.329, the PATH is set in /etc/profile. On my
Linux box, /etc/profileadds /usr/X11R6/bin to thepath, which means that the path must be set before by another configuration file. The .bash_
profile file in my home directory adds /home/ambler/bin to the path. On my Linux box, the first command to set the path would seem to be in /
etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit, which is one of the shell scripts invoked by theinit process (inittab). Then, /etc/profile adds/usr/X11R6/bin. Finally, .bash_
profile adds /home/ambler/bin.
PS1 - prompt string. Things that can be put in the prompt string include \h (hostname), \u (username), \w (absolute pathname of working
directory), \W (name of working directory w/o path), \d (date), \t (time). See p.331 of A Practical Guide to Linux for more details. On my
Red Hat boxes, the primary prompt string is set in the /etc/bashrc file. The prompt is also set in /etc/profile, but the setting in bashrc seems to
take precedence. I also have a .bashrc file, which in turn runs /etc/bashrc, which sets the prompt. Thismeans that the same prompt is used by
xterm and rxvt in X sessions. On my Slackware box, the command line prompt is set in /etc/profile. The xterm and rxvt prompts are different,
since I don't have a .bash_profile file which is run when an xterm is started. In fact, I don't know where the prompt is set in X sessions. It is not
set by /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/app-defaults/XTerm.
PS2 - secondary prompt string.
7 Important Daemons and Startup Services
These are programs or processes which are run at boot time. Some remain in memory to execute various tasks when required (daemons). Most are
started and stopped with scripts in the /etc/rc.d/init.d directory (see above). The exact contents of this directory will depend on which packages from a
particular distribution are installed. For example, installing the Apache package will cause an httpd script to be placed in /etc/rc.d/init.d.
There are manpages on most of these. The Red Hat program tksysv (ntsysv is the non graphicalversion) allows root to automatically configure
which of these arestarted automatically atboot time. The linuxconf program does thesame thing, although I haven't tried it. The utility chkconfig is
also designed to query and configure runtime services for different runlevels. The site has a good page on common
services/daemons, especially those included in recent versions of the Mandrake distribution.
A good source of information on daemons and services is the ``Linux Devices, Daemons, Services'' chapter of theCTDP (2000a) document.
amd - runs the automount daemon for remote filesystem mounting such as nfs
anacron - checks delayed `cron' tasks (see below) at boot time and executes them. Useful if you have cron jobs scheduled but don't run your
machine all the time.
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apmd - Advanced Power Management BIOSdaemon. For use on machines, especially laptops, that support apm. Monitors battery statusand
can shut down the system if power is too low.
arpwatch - keeps watch for ethernet IP address pairings that are resolved using the ARP protocol.
atd - runs jobs queued by `at'
autofs - control the operation of automount daemons, used to mount and unmount devices on demand
bootparamd - allows computers to bootfrom a Linux machine using the BOOTP network protocol. A server process that provides information
to diskless clients necessary for booting
crond - automatic task scheduler. Manages the execution of tasks that are executed at regular but infrequent intervals, such as rotating log files,
cleaning up /tmp directories, etc.
cups - daemon for print services under the Common Unix Printer System, a replacement for lpd
dhcpd - implements the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and the Internet Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP). Used to lease out IP
addresses to remote machines.
drakfont - font server in Mandrake
fetchmail - daemon to fetch mail at regular intervals from mail servers
ftpd - ftp server daemon
gated - routing daemon that handles multiple routing protocols and replaces routed and egpup
gpm - usefulmouse server for applications running on theLinux console.
httpd - the Apache webserver hypertexttransfer protocol daemon
identd - The identd server provides a means to determine the identity of a user of a particular TCP connection. Given a TCP port number pair,
it returns a character string which identifies the owner of that connection on the server's system.
inetd - listens for service requests on network connections, particularly dial-in services. This daemon can automatically load and unload other
daemons (ftpd, telnetd, etc.), thereby economizing on systemresources. In the latest version of Red Hat (7.0 at thetime of writing), it has been
replaced by xinetd. A partial list of services controlled by inetd is listed below. Under many distributions, inetd will execute scripts in the file /
innd - Usenet news server daemon
ipchains - daemon for packet forwarding. Used for configuring a gateway/firewall.
isdn provides ISDN network interfacing services
isdn4linux - for users of ISDN cards
kerneld - automatically loads and unloads kernel modules
keytable - loads the appropriate keyboard map from /etc/sysconfig/ keyboard
kheader -
kudzu - detects and configures new or changed hardware during boot
linuxconf - ``startup hook'' needed for the linuxconf system configuration tool
lpd - line printer and print spooler daemon
mcserv - server program for the Midnight Commander networking file system. It provides access to the host file system to clients running the
Midnight file system (currently, only the Midnight Commander file manager). If the program is run as root the program will try to get a
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reserved port otherwise it will use 9876 as the port. If the system has a portmapper running, then the port will be registered with the portmapper
and thus clients will automatically connect to the right port. If the system does not have a portmapper, then a port should be manually specified
with the -p option (see below).
mysql - database server daemon
named - provides DNS services
netfs - network filesystem mounter. Used for mounting nfs, smb and ncp shares on boot.
network -activates all network interfaces at boot time by calling scripts in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts
nfsd - used for exporting nfs shares when requested by remote systems
nfslock - starts and stops nfs file locking service
numlock - locks numlock key at init runlevelchange
pcmcia - generic services for pcmcia cards in laptops
portmap - needed for Remote Procedure Calls
postfix - mail transport agent which is a replacement for sendmail. Now the default on desktop installations of Mandrake.
postgresql - database server daemon
random - random number generating daemon, related tosecurity and encryption
routed - manages routing tables
rstatd - kernel statistics server. Allows users on a network to get performance statistics for any connected machine.
rusersd - provides services that allow users to find one another over the network
rwalld - allows users to userwall to write messages on remoteterminals
rwhod - server which maintains the database used by the rwho(1) and ruptime(1) programs. Its operation is predicated on the ability to
broadcast messages on a network.
sendmail - mailtransfer agent. This is the agent that comes with Red Hat. Others, such as smtpd, arenot included.
smb - needed for running SAMBA
snmpd - provides Simple Network Management Protocol support
sound - daemon for managing sound
squid - web page proxy server daemon
syslogd - manages system log files
smtpd - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, designed for the exchange of electronic mailmessages. Several daemons that support SMTP are
available, including sendmail, smtpd, rsmtpd, qmail, zmail, etc.
tcpd - from the tcp_wrappers package. Intercepts requests normally handled by inetd and filters them through the files hosts.allow and
hosts.deny files, which can restrictaccess to services based on type of service, origin of request, destination, etc. Requests are intercepted
because calls to particular services are replaced with calls to tcpd in /etc/inetd.conf.
telnetd - telnet server daemon
usb - daemon for devices on Universal Serial Bus
xfs - X font server
xinetd - more modern replacement for inetd. It apparently allows for similar kinds of access filters to the ones used by tcpd in conjunction with
inetd. xinetd replaces inetd as thedefault network servicesdaemon in Red Hat 7.0.
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xntpd - Network Time Protocol daemon. Provides a means to syncronize time over the network.
webmin - daemon for webmin web-based system administration program
ypbind - NIS binder. Needed if computer is part of Network Information Service domain.
8 Window Managers
The ``Window Managers for X'' site is extremely useful for keeping track of new Linuxwindow managers. See
Afterstep - Based on Fvwm. Designed to give a similar look and feel to the NextStep interface.
AnotherLevel - a custom configuration for fvwm2 which mimics the look and feel of Windows95.
Blackbox - a light, fast, window manager. It doesn't clutter the screen with too much junk, but it gets the job done efficiently.
CDE - Common Desktop Environment. This is the defaultwindow manager on many commercial Unix systems. There is no free version.
Enlightenment - Very configurable, and probably the coolest looking window manager, but a bit of a resource hog.
Flwm - Fast, Light Window Manager. It has very few features, but is very small.
Fvwm - F (?) Virtual Window Manager. This, along withFvwm2, are old standbies in theLinux world. They are quite configurable, but
configuration involves editing text files which are sometimes obscure.
Fvwm2 - newer version of above.
Fvwm95 - implementation of Fvwm2 configured to look and feel like Windows 95.
Gnome - Gnome desktop environment. A themable collection of desktop utilities that can be used with different window managers. The current
default window manager for a gnome session is Sawfish.
Icewm - IceWindow Manager. Very small, very fast, quite configurable. On low memory/small harddrive machines, this one is my favorite.
Configuration involves editing text files, but the syntax is extremely easy to understand. There are also a couple of third-party programs
available which allow the user to configure Icewm using a graphical interface.
KDE - K Desktop Environment. Many of the desktop utilities can be run under different window managers. I may be wrong, but I believe
kikbd is the only program out there that allows the user to reconfigure the keyboard layout to different national keyboards on the fly, with one-
click switching from one to theother. Unfortunately, this utility is no longer available under KDE 2.x.
Kwm - the window manager that comes with the KDE desktop environment.
Mwm - Motif window manager.
Olwm - Open Look window manager.
Sawfish -a small,efficient, configurable window manager that is now the defaultwindow manager with Gnome.
Twm - Tab window manager.
UDE - Unix Desktop Environment. In early development stages. An attempt to create a new type of desktop environment for Unix machines,
including Linux.
Windowmaker - One of the more popular window managers. Highly configurable and themable.
XFce - ``Cholesterol-Free Desktop Environment''. Includes its own window manager, a toolbar, a sound manager, a backgroundmanager, and
a file manager. It has tearoff menus, up totwelve virtual desktops, etc. It is completely configurable with menus. Its toolbar looks like the one
in CDE. I find it easy to use and to configure, and easy on system resources.
9 Alphabetical List of Principal Commands
In the following command list, the distinction between upper case and lower case letters is important. Most of the commands are utilities that are run
by invoking their own executable files. In some cases, they are commands which are internal to a shell such as bash (shell builtins). The shell builtins
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are indicated. Thereare now many utilities that are included with eitherthe Gnome or the KDE desktop environments, so many that it would be
difficult to include them all here. In many cases, they duplicate the functionality of one or more of the programs listed below. I would suggest
consulting the online documentation for these packages.
Another good source of information on commands is the CTDP (2000b) document. There are different chapters which group commands in different
On rpm-based systems, to find out which package owns the command foo (where foo is a standalone executable), use the command rpm -q -f
a2p - translation utility from awk to Perl
a2ps - translation utility from ``any'' to Postscript
ac - print statistics concerning user connect time
access - determine whether a file can be accessed
acroread - Adobe utility for viewing pdf files
adduser - used by root to add user to system
usage: adduser userid
afio - utility to copy or restore files to an archive file. This utility is not part of the basic internal and external programs under Red Hat Linux. It
is available as an rpm on the site.
agetty - enables login on terminals. See getty, mgetty, and uugetty.
ali - list mail aliases
alias - assign name to specified command list. This is actually a shell builtin. On my Red Hat system, I have global alias commands in my /etc/
bashrc file and in my /.bashrc file. On my Slackware box, I have made therm command a little bit safer with
alias rm='rm -i'
so that you can't recursively delete your /dev directory without telling the system you're sure you want to do it.
alien - utility to convert to and from different Linux packageformats. Can handle Debian (deb), Stampede (stp), Red Hat (rpm) and Slackware
(tgz) packages.
apropos - display command names based on keyword search
usage: apropos keyword
apsfilter - printer filter called by lpd to deal with printing different types of files. This is a fairly sophisticated print filter. It is not set up by
default in Slackware. It used to be available on the second cd of a Slackware distribution. Since 4.0, it is available as one of the main packages
in the ap set. Read the mail that the installation program sends to the root user. I believe that Red Hat uses its own printer filters.
ar - create, modify and extract from archives
arch - print machine architecture type
as - the portable GNU assembler
asapm - AfterStep laptop advanced power management utility
ash - a shell, a very simple shellprogram sometimes used on bootdiskettes since it takes up much less space than bash, tcsh, zsh, etc.
asload - AfterStep cpu load monitor
asmail - AfterStep mail checking utility
asmodem - AfterStep utility to monitor modem status
aspell - a spell checking program along the lines of ispell
aspostit - X Window postit note utility
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at - executes a shell script at specified time. Use atq to show pending jobs, and atrm to remove jobs from the queue.
usage: at time
or: at -f file time
atq - shows pendingjobs queued by at. If run by root, shows everybody's pending jobs.
atrm - removes pending jobs queued by at. Use atq to determine the identities of various jobs.
usage: atrm job
awk - searches for and process patterns in a file
banner - print banner to standard output. Syntax is
banner [option] [characters]
bash - Bourne again shell. This is the default shell in the Red Hat installation.
batch - queue, examine, or delete jobs for later execution. See at.
bc - a language (compiler) similar to C, with unlimited precision arithmetic
bg PID - send process with pid ``PID'' to the background. This is the same as executing [Ctrl]z while interacting with the running process.
This is a shell builtin.
bh - puts a job in the background. This is a shell builtin.
biff - mail notification utility. Notifies user of mail arrival and sender's name.
bind - displays or redefines key bindings. This is a shell builtin.
bison - parser generator similar to yacc
bru - a powerful backup utility program. Commercial. Demonstration versions are often included with Linux distributions such as Red Hat.
bsh - equivalent to ash
bunzip2 - used to uncompress files compressed with bzip2
byacc - parser generator
bzip2 - compresses with algorithm different from gzip
bzless - view bzipped files
c++ - invokes GNU C and C++ compiler
cal - displays a 12-month calendar for the given year or a one-month calendar of the given month
usage: cal month year
cat - combine, copy standard input to standard output. Used to join or display files.
cd - change working directory. This is a shell builtin in bash, tcsh and zsh.
cdplay - command line utility for playing audio cds
cfdisk - similar to fdisk, but menu-driven
chat - used to interact with a modem via a chat script
chgrp - changes group associated with file. Can be used to change the group associated with subdirectories and files of a directory.
usage: chgrp group files
or: chgrp -R group files
chkconfig - Query or update system services/daemons for different runlevels. Manipulates the various symbolic links in /etc/rc.d. This utility is
included with many rpm-based distributions such as RedHat and Mandrake. It is designed to work with System V initialization scripts.
Graphical tools for configuring system services include ntsysv, tksysv and ksysv (the latter is a KDE utility).
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chmod - set permissions (modes) of files or directories. A value of 4 is used for read permission. A value of 2 is used for write permission. A
value of 1 is used for execute permission. See umask for default file permissions upon file creation. Chmod can also be used to change thesuid
bit on files. The syntax for the symbolic version is
chmod [options] who operation permission file-list
The syntax for the absolute version is
chmod [options] mode file-list
To set the uid to the owner's permissions, use
chmod u +s file-name
To set the uid to the group's permissions, use
chmod g +s file-name
There are lots of security issues related to allowing a program to have root's permissions when run by an ordinary user. I don't pretend to
understand all of these issues.
chown - changes ownership of a file. Can be used recursively.
usage: chown userid files
or: chown -R userid files
chsh - change default shell
ci - creates or records changes in an RCS file
clear - clear screen command
cmp - compares two files for differences
usage: cmp file1 file2
co - retrieves an unencoded version of an RCS file
comm - compares sorted files
configure - automatically configures software source code
color-xterm - color xterm program. Under Red Hat, this is just a link to xterm-color.
control-panel - graphical system configuration tool under Red Hat.
cp - copies on or more files. Recursive copying is one simple way of archiving part of a directory structure. Use the command as follows:
cp -r /sourcedirectory /targetdirectory
cpio - direct copy of files to an output device. Allows creation of archive file spanning multiple diskettes. Allows one directory structure to be
mirrored elsewhere on the partition or on another partition. Inorder to back up an entire directory structure on diskettes, cd to the directory and
use the following command:
find . -depth -print | cpio -ov > /dev/fd0
To restore from diskettes, use:
cpio -iv < /dev/fd0
The cpio command will prompt the user to insert more diskettes as they are needed. The command for mirroring a directory structure is the
find . -depth -print | cpio -pv /destinationdirectory
This copies the working directory and its contents, including subdirectories, into /destinationdirectory. In order to copy an individual filewhich
is larger than a floppy, use:
find . -name nameoffile -print | cpio -iv > /dev/fd0
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cpkgtool - Slackware tool to install, uninstall and query packages. Front end to installpkg, removepkg, makepkg. This is thegraphical version
that uses ncurses.
cpp - GNU C-compatible compiler preprocessor
crontab - schedules command to run at regularly specified time
csh - run C shell
csplit - separate files into sections. See also split.
cvs - manages concurrent acces to filesin a hierarchy. Stands for concurrent version system. Is built on RCS. It stores successive revisions of
files efficiently and ensures that access to files by multiple developers is done in a controlled manner. Useful when many developers are
working on the same project.
cut - selects characters or TAB-separated fields from lines of input and writes them to standard output
date - displays or sets date and time
usage: date
or: date date
dd - direct copy of file from one device to another. Can be used to make copies of boot or root diskettes for installing Linux. It can be used, for
example, to makeand exact copy of a floppy disk, as follows. First, place the diskette to be copied in thefloppy drive. Then,
dd if=/dev/fd0 ibs=512 > floppy.copy
Replace the diskette with a fresh diskette.
dd if=floppy.copy bs=512 of=/dev/fd0
The ibs and bs options specify the block sizes for input and for both input and output. A boot disk image can be directly copied to a floppy
using the second of the two dd commands above.
declare - declares attributes for a variable (same as typeset). This is a shell builtin.
df - displays capacity and free capacity on different physical devices such as hard drive partitions and floppy drives that are mounted on the file
system. Gives free space inblocks. With the (undocumented)option -h, the program gives free space in Mb or Gb. This is useful for those
accustomed to thinking of the capacity of a high-density 3.5 inch diskette as 1440k.
diff - displays differences between two files
usage: diff file1 file2
diff3 - compares three filesand reports on differences
dip - used to set up a SLIP or PPP connection. It can be used to set up an outgoing SLIP connection or an incoming connection.
diplogin - used for setting up incoming dip connections. See the man page for dip.
dir - a variation of the GNU ls command that defaults to printing file names in columns
dircolors - set colors for GNU ls command. In Slackware, this command is run by the /etc/profile script. Then, whenever xterm is run with the-
ls (login shell) option, ls displays different colors for different types of files. Typical usageis eval `dircolors -b`. In Red Hat and Mandrake, I
get color directories by aliasing the ls command (see below).
display - set display for output of programms under X Windows. Can be used to run a program on a remote machine while displaying the
output on a local machine. The remote machine must have permission to send output to the local machine. This is actually an environment
variable. See the more detailed discussion in connection with the xhost command below.
dmesg - displays messages from /var/log relative to the most recent boot
dos - invoke the DOSEMU DOS emulator
du - displays informationon disk usage. The command
du / -bh | less
will display detailed disk usage for each subdirectory starting at root, giving files sizes in bytes.
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dumpkeys - print information about the keyboard driver's translation tables to standard output
dvilj - send a dvi file to a Laserjet printer. There are specialized versions for individual models of Laserjet printer.
dvilj2p - specialized version of dvilj for the IIp series of printers. See above.
dvips - send a dvi file to a Postscript printer, to a Postscript capable Laserjet printer, or to a file (with the -o option). There is a switch to print
only a subset of the pages, and another switch to print in landscape mode. Use -t landscape, which is one of the arguments to the paper type
switch. If you have one page of a document that is a wide table, and you wish to printthis in landscape mode, use
dvips filename -pp pagenumber -t landscape
e2fsck - check an ext2 filesystem. The syntax is
e2fsck /dev/devicename
where the filesystem is on /dev/devicename. The device should not be mounted, and this program must be run as root.
echo - write arguments to standard output. One use is to print out information about environment variables, as in
echo $PATH - list paths to search
echo $HOME or echo ~- list name of home directory
This is a shell builtin.
editres -a dynamic resource editor for X Toolkit applications. Allows the user tochange X resources for individual applications.
efax - fax program
efix - convert between fax, text, bit-mapand gray-scale formats
egrep - search files for lines that match regular expressions. Runs faster than grep and fgrep.
elm - an interactive mail system
elvis - a version of the vi text editor
emacs - screen oriented text editor
env - desplay the current environment or set a variable equal to a new value
eval - scans and evaluates the command line. See dircolors command. This is a shell builtin.
ex - interactive command-based editor. The man page lists it as being the same as vim, an improved version of vi.
exec - system call which creates a subshell to execute a binary or a script. This is a shell builtin.
execve - a variation of the exec command.
exit - exit a shell. This is a shell builtin.
expand - convert tabs in files to spaces and write to standard output
expect - a program that ``talks'' to other interactive programs according to a script. Following the script, Expect knows what can be expected
from a program and what the correct response should be. An interpreted language provides branching and high-level control structures to direct
the dialogue. In addition, the user can take control and interact directly when desired, afterward returning control to the script.
export - place the value of a variable in the calling environment (makes it global). This is a shell builtin.
expr - utility evaluates an expression and displays the result
f2c - FORTRAN to C translator
f77 - FORTRAN 77 compiler
false - null command that returns an unsuccessful exit status
fax - simple user interface to efax and efix programs
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fc - views, edits, and executes commands for the history list. This is a shell builtin.
fdformat - low level format of a floppy device
fetchmail - retrieve mail from a remote mailserver and pass it to local SMTP agents on the local machine
fdisk - used to partition hard drives
usage: fdisk device
fg PID - bring a background or stopped process with pid ``PID'' to the foreground. This is a shell builtin. If only one process is running in
background mode, fg with no argument is sufficient to bring it to the foreground
fgrep - search for patterns in files
file - displays classification of a file or files according to the type of data they contain
find - find files according to a large variety of search criteria. The find command that I use the most is
find . -name filename -print
in order to find files matching a particular name on the working directory and all subdirectories. Find can be incredibly powerful, but it is
incredibly obscure.
finger - display information about a specified userid or userids
fmt - simple text formatting utility. Tries to make all nonblank lines nearly the same length.
fold - break lines of specified files so they are no wider than a specified lengths
fortune - available in the bsdgames package in Slackware and other distributions. Put a call to fortune in /etc/profile and get something
inspirational or amusing every time you fire up an xterm as a login shell.
free - gives used and free memory on system along with other useful information
fromdos - takes a DOS text file from stdin and sends a UNIX file to stdout.
fsck - file system check and repair
ftp - file transfer over network
g++ - C++ compiler
g77 - GNU Fortran 77 compiler
gawk - GNU awk, mostly for processing delimited text files
gcc - invoke C, C++ compiler
getipts - parses arguments to a shell script. This is a shell builtin.
getkeycodes - print kernel's scancode-to-keycode mapping table
ghostscript - set of printing utilities. It seems to be obligatory to have this if a TEX installation such as teTEX is installed. How they
communicate with one another is somewhat obscure.
ghostview - Aladdin ghostscript interpreter/previewer
gimp - image manipulation and paint program
glint - Red Hat graphical front end for the rpm package installer and manager.
grep - usedto find a string within afile. The -ioption returns matches without regard tocase. The -n option means that eachline of output is
preceded by file name and line number. The -v option causes non-matched linesto be printed.
usage: grep pattern files
or: grep -i pattern files
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or: grep -n pattern files
or: grep -v pattern files
groupadd - create a new group on the system
groups - shows which groups you are in
grub - Gnu grand unified bootloader. Can be used instead of lilo to boot multiple operating systems. I encountered a couple of snafus trying to
install grub on my home machine after installing Mandrake 8.0 and choosing the lilo bootloader during the initial install. The Mandrake
installation program set up /boot/vmlinuz as a symlink to the actual kernel, vmlinuz-2.4.3-20mdk. It took me a while to figure out that grub
doesn't understand symbolic links. The documentation suggests installing grub on a diskette using the ``dd'' command. This refused to work,
but grub-install '(fd0)'
did work. The single quotes are necessary. The files necessary to run grub are normally located in /boot/grub. Once the file menu.lst has been
edited and appropriated entries added to boot the different operating systems on one's hard disk(s), the following sequence of commands can be
used to install grub in the master boot record (MBR) sector of the hard disk:
root (hd0,x)
setup (hd0)
Here, the xshould be replaced by the partition where the /boot/grub directory is located, which is probably the root partition of the Linux
system. Note that grub has its own conventions for naming devices and numbering partitions, so that for example a partition which is called
hda6 under Linux will be called (hd0,5) by grub.
grub-install - command to install grub on the hard drive (or floppy drive).
gunzip - used to uncompress files compressed with gzip
gv - PostScript and PDF previewer, based on ghostview
gvim - see vi
gzexe - compresses executables
gzip - used to compress or decompress files
halt - shut down system as root, without reboot, immediately
hash - remembers the location of commands in the search path. This is a shell builtin.
head - displays first part of a file
history - command for viewing and manipulating the shell command history list
host - lookup host names using domain server
hostname - used to get or set hostname. Typically, the host name is stored in the file /etc/HOSTNAME.
hwclock - used to query and set the hardware clock
hylafax - commercial fax program
id - display userid and groupid
inetd - daemon which starts up other daemons on demand. Configured in/etc/inetd.conf.
ifconfig - display (as root) information on network interfaces that are currently active. First ethernet interface should be listed as eth0, second as
eth1, etc. First modem ppp connection should be listed asppp0, etc. The ``lo'' connection is ``loopback'' only.
ifdown - shut down the network interface
ifup [interface_name] - start up the interface
info - display system information. This is the GNU hypertext reader.
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init - the mother of all processes, run at bootup, executes commands in /etc/inittab. Can be used (with root privileges) to change the system run
level. usage: init run_level
insmod - used (by root) to install modular device drivers
installpkg - Slackware command to install one of the packages from the program sets
intr - interrupt key, usually [Ctrl-C]
ispell - checks files for spelling errors
usage: ispell files
jed - programmer's file editor. Behaves like emacs. Has modes for TEX, FORTRAN, C, etc.
jobs - displays list of current jobs in the background. This is a shell builtin.
joe - simple WordStar-like text editor. It can be invoked in emacs emulation mode with jemacs and in WordStar emulation mode with jstar.
jove - Joseph's Own Version of Emacs. A simple emacs clone.
kbd_mode - print current keyboard mode
kernelcfg - GUI to add/remove kernel modules (as root in X terminal).
kerneld - kernel daemon, a process that stays in memory and does all sorts of useful stuff, like automatic loading of device driver modules
kikbd - autility program that comes withKDE that allows users to switch on the fly amongdifferent international keyboards. It can be used
under different window managers than kfm.
kill - sends a signal to (especially to terminate) a job or process. This is a shell builtin in bash, tcsh and zsh.
killall - kill processes by name. Kill all processes which are instances of the speciffied program. Also used to send signals to processes or restart
killall5 - kill all processes except the ones on which it depends
last - generate a listing of user logins
lastlog - prints the last login times of all users
latex - compile a LATEX file
ldconfig - creates the necessary links and cache (for use by the run-time linker, to the most recent shared libraries found in the directories
specified on the command line, in the file /etc/, and in the trusted directories (/usr/lib and /lib). Ldconfig checks the header and file
names of the libraries it encounters when determining which versions should have their links updated. Ldconfig ignores symbolic links when
scanning for libraries.
ldd - list theshared libraries on which a given executable depends, and where they are located
leave - display reminderat specified time
less - Linux alternative to``more'' command. Displays text files, one screenful ata time. When less pauses, there is a large number of available
commands to tell it what to do next. One can scroll both forwards and backwards.
let - evaluates a numeric expression. This is a shell builtin.
lilo - installs boot loader on the boot sector of a hard drive, of a diskette, or in another location. My 486 has a hard drive that is too large for the
machine's BIOS, so Ihave to boot from afloppy. To create a boot diskette, I do the following (as root):
/sbin/fdformat /dev/fd0H1440
/sbin/mkfs.ext2 /dev/fd0
mount -t ext2 /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy
cp -dp /boot/* /mnt/floppy
/sbin/lilo -C /etc/lilo.flop
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The -C option to lilo has lilo use the lilo.flop file instead of the default lilo.conf.
linuxconf - interactive tool for configuringLinux system. Uses X if loaded. This is a Gnome tool. It comes with my Red Hat distribution, andis
not included with Slackware. It would seem to be the easiest way to configure Linux under Slackware. Version 1.15 is available for Slackware.
There is a pretty good introduction to the use of linuxconfin the Red Hat 5.2 installation manual, which is available online at their web site.
ln - creates alink to a file. Used to create hardlinks and, with the -s option, symbolic links which can link files on differentdisk partitions. The
syntax is
ln [options] source [dest]
locate filename - find the file name which contains the string ``filename''. The syntax is easier than the find command.
lock - temporarily lock terminal
lockfile - create semaphore file(s), used to limit access to a file
- log in to system
logname - consult /etc/utmp for user's login name
logout - execute logout as individual user and bring up login: prompt
look - look for strings in files
lpq - show print jobs that are waiting
lpr - send file to be printed
lprm - cancel a job from print queue
ls - list directory contents. To get colored directory listings underRed Hat, Mandrake, etc., use
ls -color
To get this all the time, add
alias ls='ls -color=auto'
to .bashrc. The following command
alias ls='ls -Fskb -color=auto'
will give directory listings in color, with file sizes in kilobytes, and append a character to the file to indicate its type.
lsattr - list attributes of files in ext2 file system
lsmod - used (by root) to show kernel modules currently loaded
lspci - utility to display information on pci buses and hardware devices attached to them. Part of the pciutils package that comes with many
Linux distributions.
lspnp - utility to display informationabout pnp devices. Part of the pcmcia or kernel-pcmcia package, depending on the distribution.
m4 - an implementation of the traditional UNIX macro processor. It can be used with the sendmail configuration package in Red Hat (and
Slackware) to generate a sendmail.conf configuration file without having to edit the configuration file directly.
magicfilter - general purpose printer filter. See apsfilter above. apsfilter is the printerfilter that comes with the Red Hat and Slackware
mail - sends or reads electronic mail
make -keeps a set ofprograms current. Thisis a utility that helps when developing a set of programs. It works by executing ascript called
makefile, Makefile or GNUmakefile in the working directory. It is very often used in combination with configure when compiling and
installing noncompiled software packages.
makebootdisk - command in Slackware to do just what the name says
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MAKEDEV - executable script to make device files on /dev
makeswap - configures swap space
man - displays information from online Unix reference manual
manpath - attempt to determine path to manual pages
mc - Midnight Commander file manager and visual shell
mesg - enables/disables reception of messages
minicom - terminal program
mkdir - create a directory
mkfs - create a file system (format) on a device or partition. Should be invoked after lowlevel formatting of the disk using fdformat. It has
several versions which are all links to the basic program, such as mkfs.ext2 and mkfs.msdos.
mkswap - creates a Linux swap space on the specified hard disk parition (root privileges neede)
usage: mkswap device
more - list file contents, stopping after each full screen
mount -t [fstype] [device] [mountpoint] - mount device using filesystem of type [fstype] with device name [device] at the location [mountpoint]
in the filesystem directory tree
mount -a - mount all filesystems according to the specifications in /etc/fstab
mouseconfig -mouse configuration utility underRed Hat. Located in/usr/sbin.
mpage - print multiple pages per sheet on a Postscript printer. Can also be used to print a page in landscape mode.
Mtools - package of MS-DOS utilities. Includes the following commands.
mcd - changes working directory on DOS disk
mcopy - copies DOS files from one directory to another
mdel - deletes DOS files
mdir - lists contents of DOS directories
mformat - adds DOS formatting information to a disk
mtype - displays contents of a DOS file
The default device for execution of these commands is /dev/fd0 and can be referred to as ``a:''.
mv - moves (renames) files
netconf - used (as root) to set up network
newaliases - rebuilds the /etc/aliases database used by sendmail. Must be rerun every time /etc/aliases is modified for the changes to take effect.
newgrp - similar to login. Changes user's identification
nice program_name - sets the priority of the program ``program_name''.
nm - lists the symbols from object files objfile. If no object files are given as arguments, nm assumes `a.out'.
nohup - runs a command that keepsrunning after logout. The command is in principle immune to hangups, and must have output to anon tty.
According to Linux in a Nutshell, this is necessary only in the Bourne shell, since modern shells preserve backgroundprocesses by default.
ntsysv - run level editor under Red Hat. This is the equivalent of tksysv, but does not require a graphical interface.
nxterm - color xterm program. The man page for nxterm under Red Hat brings up the same page as xterm.
od - dumps contents of a file
passwd - change login password
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paste - joins corresponding lines from files
patch - updates source code. Attempts to update a file from a fileof change information, or pathces, created by diff.
pathchk - determine validity and portability of filenames
pdflatex - part of the pdftex program suite. Produces pdf output from a LATEX file.
pdftex - produces pdf output from a TeX file. See also pdflatex. This program is part of the tetex 0.9 distribution that is included with Red Hat
5.2 and above, and with Slackware 4.0 and above. It is also available as a separate program.
perl - practical extraction and report language
pg - display data one screenful at a time
pico - simple screen oriented text editor. It is included as part of the Pine program.
ping - checkif Internet computer is responding. Can also measure the timeit takes the queried computer torespond.
pkgtool - Slackware tool to install, uninstall and query packages. Front end to installpkg, removepkg, makepkg. The cpkgtool is the ncurses
graphical version of this program.
popclient - retrieve mail via the Post Office Protocol. Supports POP2 and POP3.
popd - pops the top directory of the directory stack and uses cd to change to that directory. This is a shell builtin.
pr - paginates files for printing
printenv - display list of environment variables
printtool - run (as root) in an X terminal to configure your printer(s)
ps - displays status of processes. Use the -a option for processes for all users. Use the -x option to include processes not attached to a terminal.
pstree - display processes in theform of a tree structure. Killing a parent process will also kill all the children and their descendants.
pushd - pushes the argument onto the top of the directory stack and uses cd to change to that directory. This is a shell builtin.
pwd - print absolute path of working directory. This is a shell builtin.
pwchk - checks the integrity of password and shadow files
pwconv - converts passwords to the shadow password format
pwunconv - unconverts passwords from the shadow password format. Generates a standard Unix password file.
python - interpreted, interactive, object-orientedprogramming language
rcp - copy one or more files to or from remote computer. The syntax is poorly explained in the documentation that I have, including the man
pages. Usage is:
rcp filename username@remotehost:path
The user's home directory on the remote system must contain the file .rhosts with a list of users (preceded by the full domain name or exact IP
address of their machine) with access privileges.
localhostname username
rcs - creates or changes the attributes of an RCS file. Stands for Revision Control System.
rdev - query/set image root device, swap device, RAM disk size, or video mode inkernel
read - reads line from standard input. This is a shell builtin.
readonly - declares a variable to be readonly. This is a shell builtin.
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reboot - in Slackware, reboots the system. Seems to be equivalent to shutdown -r now in generic Linux.
renice program_name - resets the priority of process ``program_name''.
reset - used to reset the screen characteristics. This is useful if the screen gets messed up from, for example, trying to display a binary file in an
return - exits from a function. This is a shell builtin.
rlog - prints a summary of the history of an RCS file
rlogin - log in to remote computer. The general syntax is as follows, using the UQAM Nobel machine as an example:
rlogin -l userid
The remote computer must recognize the local user and the local machine. See the rcp command for how to set up the .rhosts file on the remote
rm - remove files or directories. With the -r (recursive) option (very dangerous!), can be used to remove the contents of a specified directory
including all subdirectories.
rmail - interpret and handle remote mail received via uucp
rmdir - remove empty directories
rmmod - used to remove modular device drivers
route -n - show routing table. The n option returns numerical addresses ratherthan names.
rpm - invokes the Red Hat package manager in command line mode. I often use this command in query mode to query packages about what
files they contain and to find out which package owns a particular file. Examples are
rpm -qil foo. Gives package information and a file list for the package foo.
rpm -qfil foo. Gives package information and a file list for the package that owns the file foo. Foo must be in the working directory, or the
full path to foo must be specified.
We need to find out about installing the rpm package on a Slackware box. It's probably better to use a package converter such as alien.
rpm2tgz - an extremely useful utility on Slackware systems that converts rpm packages to tgz format. They can then be installed using the
installpkg command (or pkgtool).
rsh - execute shell command on a remote computer. See rcpand rlogin.
rstat - summarize host's status: uptime, load averages, and current time
ruptime - show host status of local machines
rusers - list who is logged on local machines
rwall - write to all users overa network
rwho - show who is logged in on a LAN. The rwho service must be enabled for this command to run. If it isn't, run ``setup'' as root. I don't
understand this last remark, which comes from ``Linux Newbie Administrator Guide''.
rxvt - a terminal program similar to xterm, butwhich has less features and uses less memory
sed - edits a file (not interactively). Also a tool for processing text files.
set - set or display value of shell variables. This is a shell builtin. The command
set | less
prints the current user environment, giving the values of currently defined variables.
setenv - set or display value of environment variables
setserial - used by root to configure a serial port
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setterm - set terminal attributes for a virtual console
setuid - set the idof a program when it is run. Used, for example, to give root privileges to aprogram run by an ordinary user. This is actually
done by running the chmod program as root. See the chmod command for the syntax.
setup - Slackware program to set up program sets and configure system. Setupdevices and file systems, mount root file system
sh - standard UNIX shell. On Linux, just another namefor bash.
shift - promotes each command-line argument. This is a shell builtin.
showmount - show information about an nfs server
shutdown - reboot or shut down system as root, after specified amount of time. With the -r option, reboot. With the-h option, halt the system.
usage: shutdown -r minutes
sleep - creates process that sleeps for specified interval
sliplogin - attaches a SLIP interface to standard input. Used to allow dialin SLIP connections.
sort - sorts and/or merge files
split - split file into specified number of segments
ssh - secure shell. Apparently has many of thesame functionalities as rlogin, telnet, ftp, rsh, etc., with bettersecurity and encryption features.
We may want to learn how to set this up and use it.
startx - front end to xinit in Linux. This is a script which starts up X clients and shuts down the X server on exit from the window manager.
startx -- :1 - start the next X window session on the display 1 (the default is opened on display 0). One can switch between different graphical
displays using [Ctrl][Alt][F7],[Ctrl][Alt][F8], etc.
stty - sets or displays operating options for terminal
su - log in as another user, including root
sudo - allows individual users to have root permission to perform specified tasks
swapoff - disables swap disk
swapon - enables swap disk
symlinks - provide list of and information about symbolic links
sync - writes memory buffers to physical devices
systat - query host for system information
tac - print file in reverse
tail - displays the last part of a file
talk - visual communication programthat copies lines from one terminal to that ofanother user
tar - file compression and archiving utility. I find the syntax of this command to be frustratingly opaque. The following works for me. To use
this command to unzip gzipped tarballs in verbose mode, use
tar -xvzf filename.tgz
To create a tarball from files in a given directory and its subdirectories, use
tar -cvzf filename.tgz sourcename
Sourcename can be the name of a single file, a wildcard such as *, or the name of a subdirectory. There seem to be two different conventions
concerning gzipped tarballs. One often encounters .tar.gz. The other popular choice is .tgz. Slackware packages use the latter convention. The
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command can also be used to archive a file, a group of files, or a directory (with its subdirectories) on tape or onto floppies. If the material to be
archived exceeds the capacity of the backup medium, the program will prompt the user to insert a new tape or diskette. Use the following
command to back up to floppies:
tar -cvf /dev/fd0 filename(s) or directoryname(s)
The backup can be restored with
tar -xvf /dev/fd0
Tar can be used for other things. To mirror all the files and subdirectories in from-stuff to to-stuff, use the commands
cd from-stuff
tar cf - . | (cd ../to-stuff; tar xvf -)
No tar file is ever written to disk. The data is sent by pipe from one tar process to another. This example is taken from Running Linux, p.177.
To list the table of contents of a tar archive, use
tar tvf tarfile
To extract individual files from a tar archive, use
tar xvf tarfile files
where files is the list of files to extract. When extracting files, tar creates missing subdirectories underneath the current directory in which the
cammand is invoked.
tcl - scripting language
tcsh - extended version of the C shell
tee - copy standard input to standard output and one or more files
telinit - used to change run level. Exact run level that corresponds to single-user, multi-user, and X levels depends on distribution.
telnet - remote login over network
test - evaluates an expression orcompares arguments. This is a shell builtin in bash, tcsh and zsh.
tftp - user interface to TFTP protocol
time - displays timesfor the current shell and its children. This is a shell builtin. Strange, because there is also a /usr/bin/timeprogram on my
Red Hat system.
tin - Netnews reader
tkdesk - graphical desktop file manager for X
tksysv - graphical runlevel editor under Red Hat. Allows root to configure the services that are started at each run level.
tload - display system load average in graph format
top - dynamically displays process status
touch - update access and modification times of a file. If the file does not exist on disk, an empty file is created.
tr - translation utility that can be used, for example, to replace specified characters in a text file
trap - traps a signal. This is a shell builtin.
true - null command that returns a successful exit status
tset - initializes terminal
tty - shows special file that represents your terminal. Displays the terminal pathname.
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type - displays how each argument would be interpreted as a command. This is a shell builtin.
typeset - declares attributes for a variaable (same as declare). This is a shell builtin.
ul - translate underscores to underlining
umask - establishes the file-creation permissions mask. Usage is
umask xyz
The system subtracts x, y and z from the owner, groupand other file permissions that it would otherwise assign tonew files. This is a shell
umount [device] - finishwriting to thedevice and remove it from the active filesystem. The command umount -a will (re)mount all file systems
listed in /etc/fstab.
unalias - remove namepreviously defined by alias. This is a shell builtin.
uname - displays information about the system. With no arguments, it displays the name of the operating system. With the -a option, it displays
information about the operating system, the host name, and hardware.
uniq - displays lines of a file that are unique
unset - removes a variable or function. This is a shell builtin.
unzip - uncompress files compressed with the zip utility, compatible with DOS PKzip
updatedb - update file database used by locate command
uptime - shows the time, how long the system has been up, the number of users, and average load.
useradd - same as adduser
userdel - remove an account (as root). The user's home directory and undelivered mail must be dealt with separately.
users - prints list of users on the system
vdir - variant of the GNU version of the ls command. Defaults to printing out the long version of directory entries.
vi - standard screen oriented Unix editor
view - vi in read-only mode
vim - improved vi editor
vrfy - query remote host to verify the accuracy of an email address
w - display info about userids and active processes
wait - waits for a background process to terminate. This is a shell builtin.
wc - displays number of lines, characters and words in a file
Wharf - the AfterStep application dock module
whatis - display one-line summary of specified command
whereis - use to find utilities in standard locations
which - used to find utilities in search path. Will return the absolute directory path of the named utility program.
who - display information about currently logged in userids
whoami - display information about userid that is currently logged in
wish - front end to tk, an X window extension of tcl
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workbone - console based cd player
workman - graphical cd player program
write - send messages to another local user
X - starts up the X server. Can be invoked with
X -quiet -query remotemachineaddress
in order to get a graphical login screen on the remote machine. See the discussion in connection with xdm below.
xadm - display advanced power management BIOS information
xargs - converts standard output of one command into arguments for another. This is one of those powerful but obscure commands. Xargs
reads arguments from the standard input, delimited by blanks (which can be protected with double or single quotes or a backslash) or newlines,
and executes the command (default is /bin/echo) one ormore times with any initial-arguments followed by arguments readfrom standard input.
Blank lines on the standard input are ignored.
xbiff - graphical mail delivery notification utility
xcalc - simple calculator program
xclipboard - name says it all
Xconfigurator -Red Hat utility for configuringsettings for X
xdm - used to start an X login session. This can be used to start a login session on a remote system. See the discussion on the following site:
See the man pages for X, xdm, and Xserver. As usual, the man pages are pretty obscure. The best single source seems to be the Xserver man
pages. After X is configured, X needs to be started at bootup with the command (in /etc/rc.d/init.d/xterm):
X -quiet -query remotemachineaddress
If the address of a nameserver is not configured, then the numeric address of the remote machine rather than its name should be entered. If the
machines are connected through ethernet cards and the net, thenobviously basic networking has to be set up. Gnome and KDE come with their
own versions of X display/login managers, called respectively gdm and kdm.
xdvi - view a dvi file compiled under LATEX
xedit - a simple text editorfor X
xf86config - graphical configuration tool for X
XF86Setup - graphical configuration tool for X
xfd - display an available font in X. Creates a grid in an x-term with one character perrectangle.
xfig - utility for interactive generation of figures
xfm - graphical file manager for X
xhost - tell X server that remote computer has access to your machine and that you will use the remote computer. This can be used to set up
remote X sessions. To set up a remote X session on the UQAM Nobel machine, runthe following command on thelocal machine (one doesn't
have to be root to do this)
Then, log onto the remote machine using rlogin (see above) or telnet. Once logged in, use the following command to get the remote X server to
open an X terminal on the local machine:
setenv DISPLAY localhostname:0 ; xterm &
This is valid for csh, which is the default login shell on Nobel. Forksh, (and I think bash)replace with
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export DISPLAY ; xterm
Other X-based programs such as Netscape or Gauss (graphical version) can also be run on a remote machine with display on the local machine
with little trouble. The local X server is the program that has all of the information concerning the properties of the graphics card and terminal,
so it must be necessary to have X running on the local machine. The following should also work. After using xhost to give permission to the
remote machine to displayon the local machine, use
netscape -display localhostname:0.0
Question: can one start the X session on the local machine and then run a remote copy of a window manager?
xinit - start X Window. The command startx is a front end to xinit in Linux, including Slackware.
xload - displays a graphic of the system load
xlpq - graphical interface to print manager. This is included on one of the XFCE menus, but does not seem to be a part of the base Red Hat
xlsfonts - list fonts available under the X Window system.
xman - browsable command reference. Displays manual pages under X.
xmh - graphical front end under X to the nmh mail handling system. This program is part of the XFree86 package in Red Hat.
xmodmap - utility for modifying keymaps and pointer button mappings in X. Can be used to install a French Canadian keyboard. Download
the file from, and insert the command
xmodmap /etc/X11/ &
into the .xession (with xdm) or the .xinitrc (with startx) file.
xosview - displays bar graphs of system load, load average, memory usage, and swap usage
xpaint - simple paint program for X
xpdf - GPL'd utility for previewing dvi files. Doesn't seem to work too well on texts with a lot of math.
xplaycd - X Window audio cd player utility
xsetroot - utility to configure root window of an X terminal
xsysinfo - graphical display of load and memory usage
xterm - start an X Window terminal session
xterm-color - color version of xterm
xv - utility for viewing and manipulating many types of image files. This is a shareware program.
xvidtune - utility for fine tuning of monitor settings under X
yacc - parser generator
ytalk - multi-user program similar to talk
zcat - read one or more files that have been compressed with gzip or compress and write to standard output
zcmp - read compressed files and pass them to cmp
zdiff - read compressed files and pass them to diff
zgrep - read compressed files and pass them to grep
Zharf - AfterStep button panel module
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zip - zip utility compatible with DOS PKzip
zless - view zipped files
zmore - print contents of compressed files one screen at a time
znew - uncompress Z files and recompress in .gz format
Eventually, we want to be able to distinguish between commands that are an intrinsic part of thekernel, commands that are executable binaries that
come with every distribution of Linux, executable binaries that are not provided with all distributiions of Linux, and executable shell scripts. We also
want to point out the typical location of these commands on different Linux distributions. Finally, we want to distinguish between shell commands
and Linux commands.
10 Notes on Applications
10.1 Mail Transfer Agents (MTAs)
The Linux distributions I know come with sendmail, except for Mandrake, which as of version 7.1 uses Postfix as its default MTA. There are several
competing programs available. Even the simplest don't seem to be that easy to configure.
Exim -
Fetchmail - seemingly one of the few ways (Pine is able to do this as well) to download mail automatically from a POP or IMAP server and
pass it to local mailhandling agents. Use the following line in /.fetchmailrc:
poll proto pop3 user USERNAME pass PASSWORD
Use the following to have fetchmail loaded as a daemon that will download mail at regular intervals:
fetchmail -d 6000
The interval is specified in seconds. Fetchmail will poll all of the pop servers listed in /.fetchmailrc.
Getmail - Designed as a replacement for Fetchmail.
Postfix - a mail transport agent and potential replacement for sendmail. Mandrake 7.1 and up uses this as its default MTA.
Qmail - a ``modern'' replacement for sendmail. It is reputed to be more secure than sendmail. Since it doesn't have a GPL license, it is not the
default MTA of any Linux distributions that I know of.
Sendmail - this one gets my vote for the most complicated and obscure configuration file, /etc/ Most individual Linux users will be
using machines connected to the Internet via an ISP or on networks (such as university networks) with centralized mail processing and access
to the net. I have to change the following lines in to be able to send mail with emacs. #masquerade the domain name
DNambler.steven #masquerade username #relay all mail through nobel server
The problem comes from the fact that, as a user on a local network, I don't have my own domain name. I want return mailto be routed to
UQAM's mail server and I want the server to handle all my mail for me, even mail to other UQAM users. If I send mail to UQAM users using
their normalized usernames, the net does not know who or where they are. I have managed to get a configuration that works by writing a file and processing it with the m4 macro interpreter, following the Address-Rewriting mini-HOWTO. I now have something that
works, but which mysteriously complains about ``dangerous write permissions'' every time the system boots up.
Smail - seems to bea popular choice on smaller systems. It would appear that at one point in its history, Red Hat shipped with smail, butthis
has been replaced with sendmail.
Zmailer - apparently designed for mail servers with a large number of users.
10.2 Mail User Agents (MUAs)
Acmemail - Web-based mail agent. Allows you toaccess your mail with any browser. Involves setting up aPerl CGI script on the server side.
Archimedes - A successor program to XFmail (see below)
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Arrow -
Balsa - the default Gnome mail program
Blitzmail -
Elm -
Emumail - Web-based mail agent. Allows you to use any browser to check your POP mail account. The Web site of the company that makes
this one can be used to check your mailon a Unix system without setting up any CGI script on the server side.
Evolution - mail reader and contact manager/calendar designed for use under Gnome
Exmh - graphical front end for Mh
Kmail - mail reading program included with KDE
M - for ``Mahogany''. Seems similar to XFmail (see below). I haven't been able to figure out from the description whether it runs independently
of or in conjunction with sendmail and procmail.
Mh -
Mumail -
Mutt - text based mail program, which is highly configurable.
Nmh - mail handling system. This system includes a large number of binary commands that are kept in /usr/bin. See the man page for nmh for
details. Red Hat 5.1 and 5.2 come with exmhand xmh, which are graphicalfront ends for nmh. The exmh front end is a separate package, while
xmh is owned by XFree86.
Pine - text based mail and news utility. Features now include:
MIME support
ability to read and post network news
maintenance of an address book of mail recipients
spell checking during message composition
mouse support when using xterm on an X Window system
a highly configurable environment
Pine can be used to download mailfrom one or more POP3 mail servers. See Tip of the Week (
for the fourth week of February 1999. First, set up multiple configuration files(pine -p localmail, pine -p popserver 1, pine -p popserver 2, etc.).
Then, to configure Pine to use a POP3 server, use the Setup Config command. Set something like this in the inbox-path:
When Pine is restarted, it should ask for your password, connect to theremote server, and use it is if it were accessing local mail. The article is
unclear on whether there is the option of leaving copies of the downloaded mail on the server.
Sylpheed -
XCmail -
XFmail - This one seems very promising. It's a GUI-based mail tool that seems to offer most of thefeatures of Netscape's mail module. It runs
without using sendmail and procmail, which is a major advantage.
10.3 Editors
cooledit - a pretty powerful GUI text editor
emacs - powerful text editor that includes modules for reading and sending mail and postings to newsgroups, and a browser module. For editing
TEX and LATEX files, the AucTEX addon package is invaluable, and makes emacs pretty hard to beat as an editor with LATEX.
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jed - has pretty good emacs emulation (it can even read mail like emacs!). It does simple syntax highlighting for TeX files, including giving
positioning of parentheses. It would seem to be prettyconfigurable and takes up much less disk space than emacs, although more than joe and
muemacs. It works well inconsole mode, and still manages to usecolors for menu bars and syntax highlighting. The program xjed which
comes with some versionsstarts up its own X terminal when invoked.
joe - "Joe's Own Editor", a fairly powerful editor with a compact binary and an ability to emulateWordstar, Emacs, Pico, and a few other
jove - "Joe's Own Version of Emacs". I tried this out a couple of times and managed to crash it when making some minor errors in command
microemacs (JASSPA) - spinoff of muemacs. Pretty powerful and configurable, while not taking up too much disk space or memory.
muemacs - a fairly powerful emacs clone whose binary is actually smaller than that of the Joe editor.
nedit - an X Window based text editor. Of all text editorsfor Linux that I've seen, it has commands whichare closest toWindows text editors,
for cursor movement, highlighting, marking text, etc. It has very good syntax highlighting for both LATEX and HTML.
pico - simple text editor. It often comes packaged with the Pine mail user agent.
vi - included with most Linux distributions. If you're not used to the syntax, it can be pretty hard to understand.
vim - improved version of vi
xedit - simple text editorincluded with many Linux distributions
10.4 Other
dfm - Desktop File Manager. Allows the user to place program icons on the desktop.
gmc - Gnome Midnight Commander. Gnome version ofMidnight Commander. Includes a graphical interface and allows the user to place icons
on the desktop.
mc - Midnight Commander file manager. Runs in console mode and in an xterm.
scilab - a free matrix programming language. May be a good substitute for GAUSS and/or MATLAB.
11 Some Nifty Slogans
Linux: the choice of a GNU generation.
Windows: where do you want togo today? Linux: where do you want to go tomorrow?
This program has performed an illegal operationand will be shut down: please reboot using Linux.
``When you say `I wrote a program that crashed Windows', people just stare at you blankly and say `Hey, I got those with the system, for free'.'' -
Linus Torvalds
Windows 2000, from the company that brought you EDLIN!
Linux: because rebootingis for adding new hardware.
Your mouse has moved. Windows NT must be restarted for the change to take effect. Reboot now [OK]?
Linux: transforms your microcomputer into a workstation. Windows NT: transforms your workstation into a microcomputer.
12 References
Computer Technology Documentation Project (CTDP) (2000a), ``How Linux Works'',
Computer Technology Documentation Project (CTDP) (2000b), ``Linux Files and Command Reference'',
Page 30 Some Useful Linux Commands
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Klimas, Piotr et. al. (1999), ``Linux Newbie Administrator Guide'',
Siever, Ellen, Stephen Spainhour, Jessica P. Hekman, and Stephen Figgins (2000), Linux in a Nutshell. third edition, O'Reilly
Sobell, Mark G. (1998), A Practical Guide to Linux. Addison-Wesley
SSC (2000), ``Bash Reference Card'', bash.pdf
Welsh, Matt, Matthias Kalle Dalheimer and Lar Kaufman (1999), Running Linux. third edition, O'Reilly and Associates
last modified: (21/03/02)
File translated from TEXbyTTH, version 2.73.
On 21 Mar 2002, 07: 57.
... Debian ve Red Hat türevi dağıtımlarda CLI'den paket formatlarını dönüştürmek için alien komutundan yararlanılmaktadır(Ambler, 2002). Aşağıda bunlara ait örnekler yer almaktadır.Debian türevi dağıtımlarda rpm dosya paketini deb dosya paketine dönüştürmek için; 15 sudo apt update apt install alien alien -d dosya.rpm ...
Full-text available
İşletim sistemleri arasında özel bir yere sahip olan Linux dağıtımlarında kullanılan geleneksel uygulama paket yöneticilerinin yerini son zamanlarda ortaya çıkan dağıtımdan bağımsız çalışabilen modern uygulama paket yöneticileri almaya başlamıştır. Bazı Linux dağıtımlarının içerisinde yerleşik olarak gelen bu paket yöneticileri günden güne büyümeye devam etmektedir. Linux kullanıcılarının oluşturduğu meraklı topluluğun önemli bir kısmı bu durumun Linux açık kaynak projesinin sonunu getireceğinden endişe duymaktadır. Kullanımı sürekli artan Linux dağıtımların paket yöneticilerinin geleceğinin şekillenmesinde bu üstünlük mücadelesinin etkili olacağı düşünülmektedir. Geleneksel anlamda bilinen paket yöneticileri ile modern olan AppImage, Flatpak ve Snappy paket yöneticileri arasında belirgin farklar bulunmaktadır. Bunlardan en dikkat çekeni geleneksel paket bağımlılıkları haricinde modern paket yöneticilerinin sanal alan oluşturarak kendi bağımlılıklarını yaratmış olmasıdır. Ayrıca bunlar, genel olarak bazı sorunlara da sahiplerdir. Örneğin, AppImage formatının dağıtımlarda bir paket yöneticisi bulunmuyor, Flatpak diskte oldukça fazla alan kaplıyor ve Snappy tüm geliştiricilerin erişim sağlayıp uygulama paketlerine müdahale edebileceği bir ortamda bulunmuyor. Modern paket formatlarının geleneksel olanlara karşın en büyük avantajı dağıtımdan bağımsız olarak çalışmalarıdır. Bunlar çoğu dağıtımda çalışmayı desteklemektedirler. AppImage aynı uygulamanın birden çok sürümünü kolaylıkla bir sistem üzerinde çalıştırabilir. Ayrıca uygulama çalıştırmak için herhangi bir kök iznine ihtiyaç duymaz. Bu tez çalışmasında geleneksel paket formatı olarak Debian türevi olan Linux Mint ve Red Hat türevi olan Fedora dağıtımların varsayılan paket formatı seçilmiştir. Geleneksel ve modern paket formatlarının önemli karakteristik özellikleri ve onların örnek uygulamalarının çalışma performansları incelenmiştir. Ayrıca kullanıcı açısından bu paket yöneticilerinin avantajları ve dezavantajları irdelenmektedir.
How Linux Works'', howlinuxworks/index.html Computer Technology Documentation Project (CTDP)Linux Files and Command Reference'', linux/commands/index.html Some Useful Linux Commands 10Linux Newbie Administrator Guide
  • Linux
Linux: transforms your microcomputer into a workstation. Windows NT: transforms your workstation into a microcomputer. 12 References Computer Technology Documentation Project (CTDP) (2000a), ``How Linux Works'', howlinuxworks/index.html Computer Technology Documentation Project (CTDP) (2000b), ``Linux Files and Command Reference'', linux/commands/index.html Some Useful Linux Commands 10/29/2005 04:56:04 PM Klimas, Piotr et. al. (1999), ``Linux Newbie Administrator Guide'',
Linux in a Nutshell A Practical Guide to Linux Running Linux
  • Ellen Siever
  • Stephen Spainhour
  • Jessica P Hekman
  • Stephen Figgins
  • O 'reilly Sobell
  • G Mark
Siever, Ellen, Stephen Spainhour, Jessica P. Hekman, and Stephen Figgins (2000), Linux in a Nutshell. third edition, O'Reilly Sobell, Mark G. (1998), A Practical Guide to Linux. Addison-Wesley SSC (2000), ``Bash Reference Card'', bash.pdf Welsh, Matt, Matthias Kalle Dalheimer and Lar Kaufman (1999), Running Linux. third edition, O'Reilly and Associates last modified: (21/03/02)