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Linux.com: Shell Skills, Part 3: Essential Commands

Aug 13, 2000, 11:43 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Dominico)

"In Part 1 of the Shell Skills series, we looked at some of the helpful features of the Bash shell. In Part 2 we learned how to use input, output, and redirection to our advantage. By now, you should have a good idea of how to effectively work with files and directories at the command line. However, that command line won't do you much good unless you know some essential commands that can help to make your life easier."

"First, let's discuss the required terminology. Commands are used in conjunction with "options" and "arguments". Sometimes the same command can be used in different ways with the use of options. Options tell the command exactly what you need it to do. They generally consist of a hyphen followed by a letter, or two hyphens followed by a word. When using multiple options, you can generally use only one hyphen followed by all the options you wish to use, with no spaces. Arguments, on the other hand, are information that you sometimes need to give, or "pass", to a command. So, for example, "tar -xvf foo.tar" means "use the tar command to untar (x) the filename (f) that I have specified as an argument (foo.tar), and give me the verbose output (v)". Simple, right? To find the available options for a command and available arguments, try " --help" or "man ". Please note that in the examples below, I may not include all possible options for a command, just the most common ones. Sounds like a motivation for doing a little more research on your own, doesn't it?"

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