Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've just begun to use the Terminal in Mac OS X and I've found the man command very useful, although very often the explanations are too compact or complicated for me. I am looking for a very basic reference guide – like O'Reilly makes, for example. But in there I didn't find an entry for basic commands like ls or ln and a layman's explanation of all the flags and options.

Could anybody recommend me something?

share|improve this question

If a video tutorial is more your style, Dan Benjamin did a 2-part intro to the command line that is very well structured. Part 1 is here:

And part 2 (with Geoffrey Grosenbach) is here:

There appear to be free previews of the screencasts here:

Hope this is helpful!

(Note that I have no relationship with Peepcode or Dan Benjamin other than being admirers of this piece of work…)

share|improve this answer
Bought those videos, and like them, but I don't remember being in-depth about flags of certain commands (i.e. what the user wants). – Daniel Beck Jan 24 '11 at 6:11

The Linux Documentation Project has very good (although slightly dated) documentation for many Linux/Unix tools. They have a bash beginner's guide, a bash programming guide and an advanced bash-scripting guide which should cover most aspects of bash.

share|improve this answer

I don't know Mac OS at all, but for an intro to unix commands I like this link:

Skip the first section for moving around linux



share|improve this answer

Find an ancient book on Unix, preferably from the '80s or even late 70s, when Unix and the shell were brand new concepts. If you buy used, you'll pay more for shipping than for the actual item, which makes sense for something like this (and its author, John Levine, is well regarded in the Unix community).

Every command has grown more command-line options since these books were published, so at some point you'll need to turn to the man pages for more of an explanation. But then you'll reach a point where you can resell the book, and the man pages alone will be perfectly fine for you.

share|improve this answer

This is the official manual, which is probably on your system and accessible using info bash.

The Official FAQ can be very useful.

The resources at Greg's Wiki are invaluable. Particularly:

share|improve this answer

While this link isn't bash specific, you'll find these manuals written by the folks that wrote unix invaluable-

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .