The truth about Linux today is that one may never have to actually touch a terminal or issue a single Linux command in order to run some versions of this flexible alternative operating system. While there are times when using the Linux command line could be expeditious and the benefits of possessing the ability to use it are numerous, many users can be intimidated by the prospect.
They may think it’s too difficult or too much to remember. But once a user becomes accustomed to using the command line interface, it soon becomes the preferred method in many tasks. Not only is it much quicker to accomplish just about any given task at the command line, it opens a whole new world of possibilities. It allows the user to begin to understand how an operating system is structured and functions. It gives the user very powerful tools to do the things graphical interfaces will never be able to reproduce. And best of all, it’s just fun.
There are several shells, the interface between the user and the system, with their own set of built-in functions and commands. The most popular is probably Bash, which is an improved clone of the Unix Borne Shell. Not only does Bash include lots of handy built-in commands, but a user can execute (or fork) a multitude of other application executables from within it.
There is a short list of commands that one can learn to get started. With this short list, you can begin to build your toolbox and with the help of a few good reference sites, become a command line master yourself. Not only will this enable you to feel comfortable running just about any Linux distribution available, but every programmer working today began with that first command.
But how might one go about trying to use the dreaded command line? Once open, the user stares at the prompt wondering what to do first. They know folks work from the command line all day every day, but what do you do? Fortunately, you’re not on your own. There are a plethora of sites with all the information you’ll need to take you from beginner to advanced user or anywhere in between.
One of the best places to get started is LinuxCommand. This site gently introduces the first time user what a shell is and how to use it. Then, if desired, it will instruct the user on how to write their first shell scripts.
O’Reilly’s Linux Command Directory
O’Reilly’s Linux Command Directory is a wonderful quick reference chart-like guide. This page lists not only the built-in commands, but also many little utilities commonly included in all Linux distributions. This is great for the beginner or even more advanced users as the listed commands are links to full information as to what the command is and how to use it.
The Linux Cookbook
Later, it instructs on how to configure the X Windows System, how to start X, and all other aspects of using X. Then it even goes further into using the graphical interface and includes things like audio, printing, networking, and communications. It basically gives the user a full overview of using Linux.
This site is the online version of a hard copy book sold in many stores and featured on Amazon. Once you complete this book and the LinuxCommand.org instruction, you’ll be a Linux Kung Fu Master.
Do you have any favourite websites for mastering the Linux command line? If so, let us know about them in the comments.
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