72
votes
3answers
22k views

Why do directories need the executable (X) permission to be opened?

In my CMS, I noticed that directories need the executable bit (+x) set for the user to open them. Why is the execute permission required to read a directory?
36
votes
5answers
12k 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.
35
votes
4answers
5k views

Convince grep to output all lines, not just those with matches

Say I have the following file: $ cat test test line 1 test line 2 line without the search word another line without it test line 3 with two test words test line 4 By default, grep returns each ...
71
votes
6answers
5k views

Why is cd not a program?

I've always wondered why cd isn't a program, but never managed to find the answer. Anyone know why this is the case?
30
votes
5answers
4k views

Timing out in a shell script

I have a shell script that's reading from standard input. In rare circumstances, there will be no one ready to provide input, and the script must time out. In case of timeout, the script must execute ...
40
votes
6answers
13k views

Can I create a user-specific hosts file to complement /etc/hosts?

Is it possible to add a list of hosts that are only specific to a certain user? Perhaps a user-specific hosts file? This mechanism should also complement the entries in the /etc/hosts file.
20
votes
3answers
14k views

Installing Grub 2 on a USB flash drive

MultiBootISOs is a tool that let you install Grub on a USB flash drive. I really like it because it lets me boot from ISO files and let me put a bunch of ISOs on my USB and choose which one to boot. ...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

File descriptors & shell scripting

I am having a very hard time understanding how does one use file descriptors in shell scripts. I know the basics such as exec 5 > /tmp/foo So fd 5 is attached to foo for writing. exec 6 < ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Can one PC be used by two users at the same time via dual-monitor?

Since modern PCs can use two screens at the same time I wonder if it is possible to plug in two keyboards and mouses as well to have the two screens run two (more or less) independent X-sessions at ...
10
votes
1answer
480 views

When is double-quoting necessary?

The old advice used to be to double-quote any expression involving a $VARIABLE, at least if one wanted it to be interpreted by the shell as one single item, otherwise, any spaces in the content of ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Debian based system, only one gui program, nothing else

I would like to make a debian system where you can only open one GUI program at boot, no other graphical interface, no minimize, or any X apart from that program, is there a way to do it on debian if ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Find filesystem of an unmounted partition from a script

I'm writing a custom automated install using AIF (Arch Installation Framework), and I need to find the filesystem on a partition given a partition. So far I have this: grok_partitions () { local ...
3
votes
4answers
10k views

Renaming multiple files (changing extension)

I would like to change file extension from *.txt file to *.text file, tried using the basename command, but I am having trouble on changing more than 1 file, I am getting a basename: too many ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Does (should) LC_COLLATE affect character ranges?

Collation order through LC_COLLATE defines not only the sort order of individual characters, but also the meaning of character ranges. Or does it? Consider the following snippet: unset LANGUAGE ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Can't access select https sites on Linux over PPPoE

My internet connection used to be a direct LAN connection to my provider. Back then, everything would load fine on both Windows and Ubuntu (dual boot). However, a while ago they started needing me to ...
3
votes
2answers
694 views

undelete files from local fileserver

I have a NAS (mybook world white light) in my living room where all my music and stuff is stored. I've mounted the music folder of the nas in the local music folder of my home directory on my desktop ...
167
votes
7answers
72k views

When should I not kill -9 a process?

I am always very hesitant to run kill -9, but I see other admins do it almost routinely. I figure there is probably a sensible middle ground, so: When and why should kill -9 be used? When and why ...
76
votes
12answers
23k 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 ...
107
votes
1answer
19k views

Difference between nohup, disown and &

What is the difference between $ nohup foo and $ foo & and $ foo & $ disown
40
votes
11answers
11k views

Recommended reading to better understand Unix/Linux internals

I've worked on *nix environments for the last four years as a application developer (mostly in C). Please suggest some books/blogs etc. for improving my *nix internals knowledge.
36
votes
1answer
1k views

Why are there so many different ways to measure disk usage?

When I sum up the sizes of my files, I get one figure. If I run du, I get another figure. If I run du on all the files on my partition, it doesn't match what df claims is used. Why are there so many ...
30
votes
2answers
10k views

Why can rm remove read-only files?

If I create a file and then change its permissions to 444 (read-only), how come rm can remove it? If I do this: echo test > test.txt chmod 444 test.txt rm test.txt ...rm will ask if I want to ...
23
votes
5answers
4k views

What Unix commands can be used as a semaphore/lock?

I want to run multiple Bash shell scripts in parallel. However, I want to avoid race conditions. What Unix commands are truly atomic that I could use for this purpose, and how can I use them?
28
votes
4answers
19k views

Reserved space for root on a filesystem - why?

I understand that by default, newly created filesystems will be created with 5% of the space allocated for root. I also know you can change the defined space with: tune2fs -m 1 /dev/sdXY What I'm ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Getting information on a machine's hardware in Linux

How can I check what hardware I have? (With BIOS version etc.)
11
votes
8answers
2k views

How can I build a custom distribution for running a simple web browser?

You'll have to forgive me, as I'm relatively new at doing something like this, but I need to do the following and I know that it has and can be done. Basically, a few friends and me are assembling ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Bash Script on Startup? (Linux)

Is there any way to make/run a bash script on reboot (like in Debian/Ubuntu for instance, since thats what my 2 boxes at home have) Also, any recommended guides for doing cron jobs? I'm completely ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

When is dd suitable for copying data? (or, when are read() and write() partial)

Short version: In what circumstances is dd safe to use for copying data, safe meaning that there is no risk of corruption due to a partial read or write? Long version — preamble: dd is often used to ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Run a command for a specified time and then abort if time exceeds

I want know how I can run a command for a specified time say, one minute and if it doesn't complete execution then I should be able to stop it.
13
votes
3answers
935 views

Determining Specific File Responsible for High I/O

This is a simple problem but the first time I've ever had to actually fix it: finding which specific files/inodes are the targets of the most I/O. I'd like to be able to get a general system overview, ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

The merits of a partitionless filesystem

I ran into something a couple of weeks ago that I'd never seen before: A filesystem (ext3 I believe) installed to a storage device without a partition. In essence /dev/sdb was the entire filesystem. I ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

How to find out which (not installed) package a file belongs to?

On Debian systems (and derivatives): $ dpkg --search /bin/ls coreutils: /bin/ls That is, the file /bin/ls belongs to the Debian package named coreutils. But this only works if the package is ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Make `rm` move to trash

Is there a Linux script / application which, instead of deleting files, moves them to a special “trash” location? I’d like this as a replacement for rm (maybe even aliasing the latter; there are pros ...
10
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I prepend a tag to the beginning of several files?

I need to add PHP tags surrounding a file. It's easy to append them using find . -exec echo "?>" >> '{}' \; but how can I prepend the tag <?php?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Creating a UNIX account which only executes one command

Is there a way to create a user account in Solaris which allows the users to run one command only? No login shell or anything else. I could possibly do it with /usr/bin/false in /etc/passwd and just ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How to restrict internet access for a particular user on the lan using iptables in Linux

Let's say there are two users on the LAN, A and B. How do I restrict user A from internet access using iptables rules and saving the rules so that after reboot, they are still effective. And suppose I ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

Unix/Linux undelete/recover deleted files

Is there a command to recover/undelete deleted files by rm? $ rm -rf /path/to/myfile How can I recover myfile? If there is such a tool how can I use it?
12
votes
1answer
449 views

How do ${0##*/} and ${0%/*} work?

I'm quite confused about the following regular expressions I found in a shell script: ${0##*/} ${0%/*} How do they work?
11
votes
5answers
1k views

How to de-unzip, de-tar -xvf — de-unarchive in a messy folder?

Usually, I unarchive things by $ mkdir newFolder; $ mv *.zip newFolder; $ cd newFolder; $unzip *.zip but sometimes I get lazy and just do in an arbitrary folder $ unzip *.zip so time-to-time messing ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Automount USB drives with no GUI requirement (halevt replacement)

For minimal installations of Debian, I have been using halevt to enable automounting of USB drives. Halevt is reliable and requires no configuration aside from installing the package. Now, halevt has ...
4
votes
2answers
602 views

In `while IFS= read..`, why does IFS have no effect?

I might have something absolutely wrong, but it looks convincing to me, that setting IFS as one of the commands in the pre-do/done list has absolutely no effect. The outer IFS (outside the while ...
80
votes
7answers
10k views

Which is the safest way to get root privileges: sudo, su or login?

I would like to have the root account in safety even if my unprivileged user is compromised. On Ubuntu you can only use sudo for "security reasons" by default. However I am not sure it is any safer ...
68
votes
2answers
7k views

Why do we use su - and not just su?

I don't understand why su - is preferred over su to login as root.
90
votes
8answers
7k views

The myths about malware in unix/linux

Is it possible for my Linux box to become infected with a malware? I haven't heard of it happening to anyone I know, and I've heard quite a few times that it isn't possible. Is that true? If so, ...
48
votes
2answers
26k views

Getting 256 colors to work in tmux

I have 256 colors working just fine in konsole,. I thought I'd give tmux a try because, unlike screen, it seems to support vi mode. However I find that the colors of my prompt show up and this is ...
29
votes
4answers
2k views

Using '.' to execute files in bash

What's the difference between executing a script like this: ./test.sh and executing a script like this: . test.sh? I tried a simple, two-line script to see if I could find if there was a ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I handle switches in a shell script?

Are there some built-in tools that will recognize -x and --xxxx as switches, and not arguments, or do you have to go through all the input variables, test for dashes, and then parse the arguments ...
15
votes
7answers
13k views

Lightweight outgoing SMTP server

What do you use as a lightweight SMTP for outgoing e-mails only? I am running an app that sends e-mails via SMTP when events occur once in a while, and I don't need a fully featured e-mail server. ...
22
votes
5answers
14k views

How to speed my too-slow ssh login?

Running ssh user@hostname takes ~30s. Here's the scenario: this is a VM on the local LAN Windows and Mac machines get instant login am using Debian and I could reproduce with an Ubuntu machine ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Measuring RAM usage of a program

time is a brilliant command if you want to figure out how much CPU time a given command takes. I am looking for something similar that can measure the max RAM usage of the program and any children. ...

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