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Using Bash, but any shell is fine.

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closed as not constructive by nhinkle, KronoS, Sathya Feb 10 '11 at 4:31

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

get unix encyclopedia – holms Feb 10 '11 at 3:14
Really? Closed? – Slomojo Feb 10 '11 at 4:38
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As well as Arcege's list, learn how to use:

  • find
  • grep
  • tr
  • cut

Plus Bash built-ins like

  • while
  • for
  • if

Also learn about pipes, redirection, parameter expansion, brace expansion, readline, history and completion.

oh and...

  • man
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sed - file manipulation, e.g. sed -e '/<foo>/,/<\/foo>/{;s/bar/widget/;}' xyzzy.xml

awk - file manipulation, my favorite idiom is du -sk * | awk '{sum+=$1}END{print sum}'

less - paginator

tail -f - stream viewer, great for dozens of logs; tail -f logs/*.{log,err,out}

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To Arcege's list I'd add:


as in

watch -d -n 'ls -al File*; wc -l File1'

(of course replace File*|File1 with whatever)

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Those commands that you listed "ls, cd, mv, cp, ..." are all just programs that happen to be installed on every unix and linux system. I often take a look around in the places where these programs reside like /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin. Then I use the man or info command to get more details on each of those commands in those directories. Use man man to get more details on the man command (press q to quit).

The ones I often use are grep, ssh, dd, nmap, ifconfig, route, and iptables (the firewall). I have by no means mastered iptables or grep. There are so many commands that each do different things and are each useful in their own way. It is difficult to pick the "most useful" ones. The ones that you consider most useful will depend on which programs best help with what you do most often.

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you could use grep every day for many many years, iptables however, you will rarely have to play with. – Slomojo Feb 10 '11 at 4:26
@slomojo True grep defnetly stands out as one of the big ones that can be applied to just about anything. – James T Feb 10 '11 at 4:29

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