In my opinion, the best way to "practice" the command line is to live in the command line. By that I mean a virtual terminal (press Ctrl-F2), or even disabling the GUI by default (edit
/etc/inittab to change the default runlevel to 3.)
The author of that book you are reading even states: "This book is a broad overview of 'living' on the Linux command line."
I really can't think of a useful task to use the command line.
What this means to me is simply that you know how to do things without the command line, so you aren't forced to learn the (text-only) command line methods for doing those things.
If you start "living" in the command line, you will start learning the system from the bottom up, the way the computer actually "sees" the world.
Rather than picking some specialized existing functionality that you can already do perfectly well with a GUI, and that is quite complicated through the command line (e.g., listening to music samples on Amazon)—just sit in front of a virtual terminal and find out what there is there that you can do. Then get more familiar with that and do it better and faster.
Some examples of very simple routine tasks on the command line:
- Find out what time it is.
- Trickier: Edit your
.bash_profile to display what time it is in each command prompt.
- Find out what is in a directory.
- Find out what is on the flash drive you just found in your drawer.
- Download a file that you have the URL for.
- Jot down some notes (in a text file).
- Search for a file.
- Install some new software.
- Make a new user for your system.
- Find out if your network connection is working.
- Set a reminder for yourself.
- Print a document.
- Reformat an external hard drive.
- Check what programs exist to do something you want to try (e.g.
man -k printer)
Many of these might seem silly to do in the command line if you are using a GUI. If you use a GUI when you're trying to learn the command line, you end up "spoiled".
There are only two activities for which a GUI is absolutely necessary: Looking at pictures, and watching videos. Everything else can be done through the command line.