My thoughts on Tech

5 Commands Every Linux Newbie Must Know

Although Linux had progressed far from being a command-line only OS to a full fledged totally GUI based one, sometimes, the command line is the best way to get something done. Here are 5 of the must-know commands. These commands can b quite useful and handy.

1: mount: Used for mounting Windows/Other partitions, just in case it isn’t automatically mounted.

Usage:

mount <device> <mount-point>

here <device> refers to the special device where your partitions are.
Rather than referring to partitions as drive letters as Windows, every partition in Linux is indicated by a special device. For eg in case if IDE(parallel ATA drives) the Primary master will be /dev/hda and the primary partition will be /dev/hda1(Windows C:) and the logical partitions will be /dev/hda5, /dev/hda6 and so on(for Windows D:, E:.. so on).

<mount-point> indicates to which directory you want the partition to be available as.

Please note that mount command requires root privileges, so run the command as sudo ie,
sudo mount <device> <mount-point>

Eg: If you wish to mount the Windows C partition to a /windows/C the command will be,sudo mount /dev/hda1 /windows/C

For SATA drives, the “hdx” will be replaced by “sdx” ie, instead of /dev/hda1

it’ll be /dev/sda1

2: tar/bzip2/bunzip2: For extracting archives, this command is useful for extracting to directories other than the home directory, where root privileges are required

Usage:
(i) For GZipped files(.tar.gz extension)

tar xvfz <archive-name>

Eg: If the archive name is some-file.tar.gz, then the command will be

tar xvfz some-file.tar.gz

(ii)For Bzipped files (.tar.bz2 extension)

First, unzip the archive using

bunzip2 <archive-name>

Then untar using the command

tar xvf <archive-name>

Eg: If the archive is some-file.tar.bz2 then first unzip it using

bunzip some-file.tar.bz2

You’ll get the file some-file.tar. Next untar it using

tar xvf some-file.tar

3. rpm/dpkg – Install/Upgrade/Remove RPM/Debian Packages

Usage:

(i) Installing new packages

rpm -ivh <package-name.rpm>

dpkg -i <package-name.deb>

(ii) Upgrade existing packages

rpm -Uvh <package-name.rpm>

dpkg -i <package-name.deb>

(iii) Removing existing packages

rpm -e <package-name>

dpkg -r <package-name>

Note that these commands are suited for individual commands, whose dependencies are met. For complex packages, having many dependencies it’s better to use apt-get/smart.

For smart: smart install <package-name>

For apt-get: apt-get install <package-name>

Again these commands require root privileges, so prefix sudo before each of these commands.

4. cat – Concatenate files and print on the standard output. Useful for viewing short text files, logs without having to open any editors

Usage:

cat /path/to/file

Eg: cat /var/log/syslog

If the text file is lengthy, pipe it via more to scroll ie

cat /path/to/file |more

Eg: cat /var/log/syslog |more

5. dmesg – The program helps users to print out their bootup messages. Instead of copying the messages by hand, the user need only:

dmesg > boot.messages

and mail the boot.messages file to whoever can debug their problem.

dmesg |tail Outputs only the last part of dmesg, and is useful to identify any errors, which occured, say if a removable drive is inserted.

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9 Comments

  1. <![CDATA[Subbu]]>'s Gravatar
    June 14, 2007    

    You can even try tar xvfj for bzip2 files (its the same as tar –bzip2 xvf arc.tar.bz2)

  2. <![CDATA[ordinarywebguy]]>'s Gravatar
    June 15, 2007    

    Very useful blog entry as for Linux Newbies like me.
    Thanks a lot! ;)

  3. October 5, 2007    

    Thanks bro….definately useful :D

  4. Ribbitman's Gravatar Ribbitman
    November 12, 2008    

    Instead of

    cat xyz | more

    you can usually just use

    more xyz

  5. seetha's Gravatar seetha
    February 11, 2010    

    hey, i really liked the post…
    Its very clear & precise. Have seen ppl using these commands, but now i clearly know wat they do. thanks :)

  6. Srini's Gravatar Srini
    July 28, 2010    

    Dear Satya..
    ur posts on Linux are really cool… Thank you for those tips and fixes on various Linux stumblers…Can u give me few tips on formatting my USB Pendrive on NTFS/FAT 32 with Ultumix OS
    My pendrive doesnt show up auto matically
    How Do I know if the system is recognising or reading my pendrive.. how to find out the pendrive if I have not labelled it at all before.. How to then open a terminal where I can see if the system is reading my USB Pendrive.. Lot of help on formatting was given by you on google search tried here and there butu I didnt get to format my pendrive though.. my email is srinivasayyar@gmail.com
    Thank you
    Srini

  7. August 19, 2010    

    THANKS! Wonderful job Jonny

  8. Srini's Gravatar Srini
    July 28, 2010    

    Dear Satya..
    ur posts on Linux are really cool… Thank you for those tips and fixes on various Linux stumblers…Can u give me few tips on formatting my USB Pendrive on NTFS/FAT 32 with Ultumix OS
    My pendrive doesnt show up auto matically
    How Do I know if the system is recognising or reading my pendrive.. how to find out the pendrive if I have not labelled it at all before.. How to then open a terminal where I can see if the system is reading my USB Pendrive.. Lot of help on formatting was given by you on google search tried here and there butu I didnt get to format my pendrive though.. my email is srinivasayyar@gmail.com
    Thank you
    Srini

  9. July 29, 2010    

    Srini – do have a look at my post on formatting pendrive http://sathyasays.com/2007/06/13/formatting-usb-pen-drive-in-linux-using-terminal/

  1. 5 Commands Every Linux Newbie Must Know « Sathya Says on September 3, 2007 at 9:26 pm

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