The command-line is the interactive interface to your shell.

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202
votes
23answers
133k views

Repeat a Unix command every x seconds forever

There's a built-in Unix command repeat whose first argument is the number of times to repeat a command, where the command (with any arguments) is specified by the remaining arguments to repeat. For ...
192
votes
5answers
12k views

What's the difference between $(stuff) and `stuff`?

There are two syntaxes for command substitution: with dollar-parentheses and with backticks. Running top -p $(pidof init) and top -p `pidof init` gives the same output. Are these two ways of doing the ...
165
votes
31answers
101k views

Tracking down where disk space has gone on Linux?

When administering Linux systems I often find myself struggling to track down the culprit after a partition goes full. I normally use du / | sort -nr but on a large filesystem this takes a long time ...
141
votes
16answers
89k views

How to do integer & float calculations, in bash or other languages/frameworks?

Using echo "20+5" literally produces the text "20+5" What command can I use to get the numeric sum, e.g. 25 in this case. Also, what's the easiest way to do it just using bash for floating point, ...
138
votes
5answers
25k views

I deleted /bin/rm. How do I recover it?

Just for fun, I thought I would use this command on my Raspberry Pi running Raspbian: sudo rm -f /bin/rm I thought I could just reinstall coreutils: I was wrong! apt-get install --reinstall ...
123
votes
17answers
58k views

How to have tail -f show colored output

I'd like to be able to tail the output of a server log file that has messages like: INFO SEVERE etc, and if it's SEVERE, show the line in red; if it's INFO, in green. What kind of alias can I ...
119
votes
3answers
30k views

What does “--” (double-dash) mean? (also known as “bare double dash”)

I have seen -- used in the compgen command. For example: compgen -W "foo bar baz" -- b What is the meaning of the --.
116
votes
7answers
84k views

How can I close a terminal without killing the command running in it?

Sometimes I want to start a process and forget about it. If I start it from the command line, like this: redshift I can't close the terminal, or it will kill the process. Can I run a command in ...
97
votes
6answers
59k views

Keep SSH Sessions running after disconnection

I sometimes have long running processes that I want to kick off before going home, so I create a SSH session to the server to start the process, but then I want to close my laptop and go home and ...
96
votes
8answers
42k views

How can I find broken symlinks

Is there a way to find all symbolic links that don't point anywere? find ./ -type l will give me all symbolic links, but makes no distinction between links that go somewhere and links that don't. ...
75
votes
9answers
25k views

How do I delete a file whose name begins with “-” (hyphen a.k.a. dash or minus)?

How do you remove a file whose filename begins with a dash (hyphen or minus) -? I'm ssh'd into a remote OSX server and I have this file in my directory: tohru:~ $ ls -l total 8 -rw-r--r-- 1 me ...
71
votes
12answers
38k views

how do you sort du output by size?

How do you sort du -sh /dir/* by size? I read one site that said use | sort -n but that's obviously not right. Here's an example that is wrong. [~]# du -sh /var/* | sort -n 0 /var/mail 1.2M ...
70
votes
27answers
17k views

Quick directory navigation in the terminal

I would like to frequently switch between directories that are in totally unrelated paths, for example /Project/Warnest/docs/ and ~/Dropbox/Projects/ds/test/. But I don't want to type cd ...
69
votes
4answers
62k views

How to tell gzip to keep original file?

I would like to compress a text file using gzip command line tool while keeping the original file. By default running the following command gzip file.txt results in modifying this file and renaming ...
65
votes
12answers
28k views

How to grep a specific line _and_ the first line of a file?

Assuming a simple grep such as: $ psa aux | grep someApp 1000 11634 51.2 0.1 32824 9112 pts/1 SN+ 13:24 7:49 someApp This provides much information, but as the first line of the ps ...
63
votes
9answers
3k views

Remember a half-typed command while I check something

I often find myself in the following position: I've started typing a long command at the bash prompt, but half-way through I find out I need to check something with another command. This is a problem ...
63
votes
6answers
11k views

When is xargs needed?

The xargs command always confuses me. Is there a general rule that can help me figure out when I need it? Consider the two examples below: $ \ls | grep Cases | less prints the files that match ...
57
votes
6answers
81k views

ssh-add complains: Could not open a connection to your authentication agent

I've been trying to get ssh-add working on a RaspberryPi running Raspbian. I can start ssh-agent, when I do it gives the following output into the terminal: ...
54
votes
5answers
35k views

How can I send stdout to multiple commands?

There are some commands which filter or act on input, and then pass it along as output, I think usually to stdout - but some commands will just take the stdin and do whatever they do with it, and ...
54
votes
8answers
39k views

How can I edit multiple files in VIM?

I know I can open multiple files with vim by doing something like vim 2011-12*.log, but how can I switch between files and close the files one at a time? Also, how can I tell the file name of the ...
54
votes
8answers
31k views

How can I move files and view the progress (e.g. with a progress bar)?

When moving large directories using mv, is there a way to view the progress (%)? The cp command on gentoo had a -g switch that showed the progress.
54
votes
7answers
315k views

How do I zip/unzip on the unix command line?

How can I create and extract zip archives from the command line?
50
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is `--human-readable` needed and not default?

Several command line tools use the -h or --human-readable option to print file size in a human readable format (i.e., 36G vs 37550836). Why is this option needed and not the default? Aren't these ...
49
votes
6answers
36k views

Is there a tool to get the lines in one file that are not in another?

Is there any tool that can get lines which file A contains, but file B doesn't? I could make a little simple script with, e.g, perl, but if something like that already exists, I'll save my time from ...
49
votes
5answers
2k views

cd by just typing the directory's name?

I either had this somewhere 20 years ago or I dreamed about it. Basically: If if type blobblob I get blobblob: command not found Fair enough. I would like it so that when my shell gets those ...
46
votes
8answers
99k views

How do I make my pc speaker beep

Using bash, how can I make the pc speaker beep? Something like echo 'beepsound' > /dev/pcspkr would be nice.
45
votes
7answers
101k views

How to overwrite target files with mv?

I have a ton of files and dirs in a subdirectory I want to move to the parent directory. There are already some files and dirs in the target directory which need to be overwritten. Files that are only ...
45
votes
4answers
31k views

What is the difference between Halt and Shutdown commands?

What is the difference between the halt and shutdown commands?
44
votes
11answers
17k views

Easy way to determine virtualization technology

I have command line access to a Linux machine which may or may not be virtualized. I want to determine what kind of virtualization technology it runs on, if any (VMWare, VirtualBox, KVM, OpenVZ, Xen, ...
42
votes
12answers
26k views

Markdown Viewer

I found a file formatted with Markdown. Could you guys suggest what viewer that I could use to view this type of files? Hopefully one without gui (if it's possible) Update I was actually looking for ...
40
votes
7answers
47k views

How do I convert an epoch timestamp to a human readable format on the cli?

How do I convert an epoch timestamp to a human readable format on the cli? I think there's a way to do it with date but the syntax eludes me (other ways welcome).
40
votes
2answers
27k views

What are the differences between most, more and less?

I'm now using Arch Linux, and find a command most works like more and less. To understand the differences between them is a confusing problem. This Question has mentioned the differences between less ...
40
votes
3answers
26k views

How to redirect output of wget as input to unzip?

I have to download a file from this link. The file download is a zip file which I will have to unzip in the current folder. Normally, I would download it first, then run the unzip command. $ wget ...
38
votes
6answers
6k views

Is there a one-liner that allows me to create a directory and move into it at the same time?

I find myself repeating a lot of: mkdir longtitleproject cd longtitleproject Is there a way of doing it in one line without repeating the directory name? I'm on bash here.
38
votes
9answers
8k views

Linux tools to treat files as sets and perform set operations on them

Does anyone know of any linux tool specifically designed to treat files as sets and perform set operations on them? Like difference, intersection, etc?
37
votes
12answers
56k views

Efficiently delete large directory containing thousands of files

We have an issue with a folder becoming unwieldy with hundreds of thousands of tiny files. There are so many files that performing rm -rf returns an error and instead what we need to do is something ...
36
votes
4answers
4k views

Reverse grepping

Let's say, I have a really big text file (about 10.000.000 lines). I need to grep it from the end and save result to a file. What's the most efficient way to accomplish task?
36
votes
11answers
17k views

How do I reuse the last output from the command line?

This is a noob question, but I'd like to know how to reuse the last output from the console, ie: pv-3:method Xavier$ python -c "from distutils.sysconfig import get_python_lib; print get_python_lib()" ...
36
votes
3answers
42k views

How to copy the partition layout of a whole disk using standard tools

I want to take a backup of the whole partition layout of a hard drive, including logical drives, so that I can restore that layout to another disk. I do not want to copy the contents of the ...
36
votes
10answers
24k views

Which mp3 tagging tool for Linux?

Which app would you recommend for Linux to tag MP3s? Under Windows I used to use tag&rename and liked it a lot; it works well under Wine, but I want something that runs natively
35
votes
5answers
100k views

How to stop a background process?

I have started a wget on remote machine in background using &. Suddenly it stops downloading. I want to stop its process, then start it again. How can I stop it? I haven't close its shell window. ...
35
votes
9answers
64k views

How can I get a count of files in a directory using the command line?

I have a directory with a large number of files. I don't see a ls switch to provide the count. Is there some command line magic to get a count of files?
34
votes
3answers
16k views

Find out current working directory of a running process?

What command(s) can one use to find out the current working directory (CWD) of a running process? These would be commands you could use externally from the process.
33
votes
6answers
50k views

Where do files go when the rm command is issued?

Recently I accidentally did rm on a set of files and it got me thinking where exactly these files end up? That is to say, when working with a GUI, deleted files go to the Trash. What's the equivalent ...
33
votes
3answers
45k views
33
votes
4answers
27k views

What is the mknod command used for?

I just started using Ubuntu as my main OS and I wanted to learn about things I should not do, and learn by the bad things people have done in the past. I came across these email about horror stories ...
33
votes
1answer
26k views

What is the difference between modify and change in stat command context?

The stat command's manual page says: %x Time of last access %y Time of last modification %z Time of last change I am unable to understand what is the difference between ...
32
votes
4answers
35k views

Understanding the exclamation mark (!) in bash

I used history | less to get the lines of previous commands and from the numbers on the left hand side I found the line I wanted repeated (eg. 22) and did !22 at the command prompt and it ...
32
votes
5answers
47k views

Set volume from terminal

Is it possible to set the audio volume using the terminal?, instead of clicking the speaker icon in the topbar, the reason I want need to do this is because my keyboard does not have a volume ...
32
votes
6answers
19k views

Split pages in pdf

I have a scanned pdf file which has scanned two pages on one virtual page (page in pdf file). The resolution is with good quality. The problem is I have to zoom when reading and drag from left to the ...