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Main article: commands

ls : show a directory listing

df -h : show how much disk space is left

du -csh myfolder : show how much space is in use by the folder myfolder

cd : change directory

cp -r : copy a file

rm -r : delete a file

mkdir : make a directory

chmod : change the file permissions

pwd : show current working directory

whoami : show your user name

hostname : show your host's name

uptime : show the uptime of your host

top : show the top CPU consuming processes

Hard drives
Main article: hard drive commands

hwinfo --storage-ctrl : discover your hard disk controller

hwinfo --block : discover what disks you have

hwinfo --partition : discover what partitions you have

fdisk : divide your disk devices into partitions


Main article: Network commands

hwinfo --netcard :find out your NIC's type and abilities

ethtool : find out if a cable has been plugged in (link detection)

ping : find out if a computer is reachable

ifconfig : set your IP-address

route : set your default gateway

nmap : find out about ports information on a computer

General notes on commands

Commands may be invoked as simple commands. In these examples, the $ that
starts each line is a shell prompt and not meant to be typed
$ ls
Or they may be invoked as complex commands.
$ ls -l /bin
Here "-l /bin" are a pair of arguments (separated from each other and the
command by whitespace) and "-l" is specifically an option, since it modifies the
behavior of ls (it produces a long listing), while "/bin" simply specifies a target for ls
to act on.
They may also be invoked in multiples where the semicolon is a command
$ cd /bin; ls
That's two commands on one line. You may also execute one long command on two
lines by escaping the carriage return with a backslash. (See scripting for further
details on metacharacters and escaping and quoting.)
$ cd really long command line \
that we would like to finish here
Another way to invoke multiple commands is conditionally, where (in bash) "&&"
means to execute the second command only if the first returns with an exit code of
0 (i.e., it succeeds).
$ cd /bin && ls
With the semicolon command separator, had the change of directory failed, ls would
still have been invoked and simply listed the contents of the current directory. With
the conditional operator, ls would not be invoked if cd had failed.

Similarly, "||" means to execute the second command only if the first returns a nonzero exit code (i.e., it fails).
$ cd /bing 2>/dev/null || echo 'I kinna do it, Cap'\''n!'
This will cd to the directory named "bing" if it in fact exists and the command will
exit. Since it probably doesn't, being a typo, the second command will execute and
print a somewhat more entertaining error message than is usual.
Learning about commands with local documentation
A Linux system should have documentation in the form of man pages and possibly
GNU info pages (see also texinfo). In a manner similar to this page's alphabetical
list, if you know the command you wish to learn more about,
$ man command
will show you the manual page of command.
If you do not know the command but would like to see commands relevant to a
topic, use
$ apropos subject
$ man -k subject
to find suitable commands.
Unfortunately, while most man pages will be informative and complete, many GNU
utilities distribute very sketchy man pages whose primary purpose is to redirect the
user to the info system. In that case,
$ info command
will invoke that system of documentation.
Many commands have an "-h", "-H", "-help", "--help" option or some combination
thereof. Unfortunately, some commands understand other things by "-h" or "-H" so
unexpected and possibly unpleasant results may occur.
There are also extensive miscellaneous files usually found in /usr/doc, /usr/local/doc,
/usr/src/linux/Documentation (kernel docs), and elsewhere.
Man pages are monolithic and some are quite long, and it's occasionally hard to find
what you want. The tradeoff is that the man command automatically puts you in a

pager that allows you to search for specific text, usually using key bindings like vi.
This can be good if you know what to look for.
Info pages are usually subdivided, and contain some directory and hyperlink
information. The tradeoff is that you need to be at least minimally familiar with the
key bindings used for navigation. They are a subset of those for emacs.
Alternatively, you can export the entire tree as a single text document and view
through a pager with the command
$ info --subnodes command | less
this loses the hyperlinks, but you can use the same navigation skills you use on a
man page.
Lists of commands
In our Category Command you will find all commands in this wiki, but without
explanation. The next chapter lists the most relevant ones with a short explanation
so you can decide if the respective command is right for you. If you add to this list,
your contribution should be didactic, understandable for newcomers, focused on the
"real world" and contain sensible examples.
By name
This is a list of commands that gives you just enough information to decide what
command you want to use.

alias - allows you to create shorter or more familiar names for commonly
used commands

apropos - search the manual page names and descriptions

apt-get - a package management frontend for Debian-based distributions

at - execute a command-line task at a specified future time

awk - print only the nth word of an input line and more

badblocks - a command disk utility

bash - a shell

beep - customized audible alerts

bg - run a process in the background

bunzip2 - unpack files packed with bzip2

bzip2 - a pack utility

cat - receive strings from stdin or a file and output them to stdout or a file

cd - change to directory

chgrp - change the group ownership of a file

chmod - change the permission mode of a file

chown - change the owner of a file

chroot - change the position of a root directory in filesystem

chsh - change the shell of a user

clear - clear the terminal screen

cmp - compare arbitrary files.

cp - copy a file

cpio - pack or unpack files in cpio archives or tarballs

cron - schedule tasks to be executed regularly at a specific time

crontab - control the cron service

cut - display specific coloumns of a file delimited by a character

cvs - a version management system

date - output or set date and time

dd - dump a disk to/from a file and more

df - show how much free disk space there is

diff - show the difference between two files and more

dig - show answer of DNS lookup of queried name server

disown - disowns a job (removes the pid of the job). Even when the shell
exits, the job won't stop running

du - show how much disc space is used up

echo - echo a string/value to stdout

emacs - a text editor (and much more)

env - show all environment variables

exit - exit most shells

export - set an environment variable in bash and sh

fdisk - partition a disc

fg - fetch a process from the background to the foreground

file (command) - determine a file's type

find - find a file depending on its name, size, change date or other attributes

ftp - get files from the internet

fuser - identify processes using files or sockets

g++ - compile C++ code

gcc - compile C code

grep - grab for patterns in a file and more

groups - show what groups your user is in

gunzip - unpack files from a special format

gzip - pack files in a special format

halt - shut down your computer

head - show only the first n lines of a file and more

hexdump - show a file's content in hexadecimal numbers and more

history (command) - show a command history in the bash shell

hostname - show your computer's name

hwinfo - show your available hardware

id - show your user and groups ids

ifconfig - show your ip address and more

info - show info about a given command

init - change runlevel

iptables - show your firewall configuration

iptraf - Interactive IP LAN monitor

jobs - gives a list of current background jobs (processes)

kill - kill a process

killall - kill all processes with a given name

ldd - show dynamic libraries needed by an executable

less - show output in a viewer where you can scroll and search

ln - link a file

ls - list files in a directory

lshal - list HAL devices

lshw - list hardware

lsmod - list loaded kernel modules

lsof - list open files and listening sockets

lspci - list all pci devices

lsusb - list usb devices

make - compile software and more

man - get help on commands

md5sum - compute the md5 sum of a file and more

mkdir - make a directory

mkfs - format a device

minicom - communicate over your RS232 interface

more - show input in a searchable pager

mount - prepare a device for reading and writing

mv - move a file (or rename a file)

netcat - Send some bytes to the network

netstat - get information on listening sockets, open ports and more

nice - set a process's priority

nm - list the names of functions in an object file

nmap - network and port scanner tool

notepad - a simple text editor, good for folks transitioning to linux, provided
by wine.

objdump - show information about object files

openssl - create cryptographic server certificates and more

passwd - change user password

ping - show if a given computer is up and running

ps - show running processes

pwd - show your current working directory

quota - manage how much resources the user is allowed to consume

rar - rar files/directories

read - read a string from your keyboard and more

reboot - reboot the computer

rename - rename a file

rm - delete a file

rmdir - remove empty directories

route - manage your network routing table

rpm - a package management backend for Redhat and Fedora

rsync - synchronize your folders over the network

scp - (secure copy) over a network

screen - a terminal multiplexer

sed - manipulate a stream of characters (scripting language)

setenv - change the value of an environment variable in the csh

shuf - generate random permutations

shutdown - shutdowns/reboots the system

sleep - wait/delay some time

ssh - login into / execute commands in a remote host

su - change user

sudo - execute the command as another user (usually root- /etc/sudoers)

tail - show only the last n lines of a file and more

tar - pack files in a special format

tcpdump - dump the tcp network traffic

tee - multiplex cli output

time - show the time needed by a command to finish

top - show the top CPU consuming processes and more

touch - create a file or update its time stamp

traceroute - show the route a packet takes over the network

tac - print the file in reverse. (opposite of cat) (cat X tac)

tune2fs - adjust tunable filesystem parameters on ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystems

ulimit - show the limits of your user

umount - unmount a device (Often requires sudo permissions)

uname - show the running kernel's version and more

uniq - remove repeated lines in a sorted file

unrar - extract .rar files

unzip - unpack files

uptime - show the time since your computer was last switched on

useradd - add a user

userdel - delete a user

usermod - modify a user

Vgcreate - create lvm volume groups

Vgdisplay - display lvm volume groups

Vgs - show information about lvm volume groups

Vgscan - scan for lvm volume groups

vim - a text editor, not entirely unlike Notepad, but more powerful and

Vmstat - show input/output values, swap, memory consumption and more

w - print who is logged in to your system

wc - word count (word,line,char)

wget - The non-interactive network downloader

whereis - locate the binary, source, and manual page files for a command

which - print the path where you find an executable file

who - see who is on the system

whoami - print your effective user name

xargs - hand over stdin as a parameter

xev - show information about your keystrokes and more

xkill - kill a window that is in your way

xosview - show CPU/memory/hard Drive activity and more

yes - repeatedly output a string

yum - a package management frontend for Redhat & Fedora

yast - a package management frontend for SUSE

zcat - apply cat on Gzip files

zcmp - apply cmp on Gzip files

zdiff - apply diff on Gzip files

zgrep - apply grep(search in) possibly compressed files

zip - pack a file

zless - apply less on a compressed file

zmore - apply more on a compressed file

By category

Cryptography Commands

Directory Commands

Disk and Tape Drive Commands

File Commands

Internet and Network Commands


Managing Sessions

Packing and Unpacking Files

Programming-related Commands



System Information

Startup/Shutdown Commands

Text Viewing and Processing Tools

User commands

Internet and network Commands


command to show if a network cable is plugged in e.a.


Used to establish a connection with a specified host using the File

Transfer Protocol.


Displays/establishes information about the network interfaces.


Bring up network interface.


Bring up network interface.


Interactive IP LAN monitor


Displays/establishes information about the wireless interfaces.


Used to manage IP network interfaces.


Command to show what processes are making use of a port e.a.


Command to show which ports are open e.a.


Displays information about the Linux networking subsystem.


Looks up the numerical IP address of the specified host.


Sends a packet to a designated address and waits for a response.


Configure IP4 routing


Copy files over the network.


Displays the Network Filesystem mounts available.


Launches an interactive samba utility which resembles ftp.


Mounts a remote Samba service at the specified mount point.


Unmounts the specified Samba mount point.


Control a remote computer over the network.


Opens a terminal window on the remote host and starts an interactive


traceroute Prints the route that packets take to network host


Initiates a PPP dial-up connection.