small programs used on the command line to do a specific job

Unix shells are primarily glue programs designed to invoke and manage other programs. Many common tasks are performed by small external programs, often called utilities. In unix terminology, utilities include both shell built-ins and external commands.

Utilities with their own tags

  • Text processing, when sed doesn't cut it.
  • Change directory. Related utilities are pushd, pop and dirs to manage a directory stack.
  • Copy files.
  • Print the current (or another) date and time.
  • Process binary data.
  • Look for files in a directory tree.
  • Search a pattern in a file.
  • List the files in a directory.
  • Rename or move files.
  • Remove (delete) files.
  • Simple text processing, mainly regexp replacement.

Utility references

Further reading