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Linux.com: Shell Skills, Part 1: Working with Files

Jun 23, 2000, 07:17 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Dominico)

"So, you've got Linux installed and running, and now you're staring at a blank shell prompt. You're thinking to yourself, "OK...now what?" In this article, we'll give you the background you need to start using the command line effectively."

"First, let's talk about the shell. The shell is a program that takes your typed commands, and passes them to the operating system so that it can perform some sort of action. There are different shells available to you, and each one behaves differently. By default, most Linux distributions use the Bash shell, so that's the one we'll use for our examples. If you want to find out which shell you are using, type the following at a command line:"

                   echo $SHELL 

"If you see something like "/bin/bash", you'll know that you are using the bash shell. Other shells include pdksh (the Public Domain Korn Shell), tcsh (the TC Shell), and zsh (the Z Shell). For most users, bash is an excellent choice. Bash has some very nice features such as a command history. Pressing the up arrow will go through your most recent commands, so that you don't have to retype them. Bash also supports tab completion, meaning that if you type part of a path or filename, bash will attempt to complete it for you when you press the TAB key. If there are multiple possibilities, pressing "tab" twice will display them all."

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