7 Extremely Useful Linux Commands for Beginners

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7 Extremely Useful Linux Commands for Beginners

ls : What’s in This Directory?

The command ls stands for list directory contents. And, cleverly, it will do just that: list a directory’s contents! Using it with -F will give a list of the directories contents, and denote items that are other directories with a trailing /.

ls -F

On my server returns:

allthethings.txt  important.doc  Indominus/  Misc/  probs.xls  Red Wings/  Spreadsheets/  Work/

In the above case, allthethings.txt, garbage.file, important.doc, and probs.xls are files, and Indominus, Misc, Red Wings, Spreadsheets, and Work, each with the trailing /, are directories!

There are many other options, or switches, such as -F that can be used with ls for improved results. For example:

ls -lFa

Returns:

dr-xr-x---. 10 root root 4096 Apr 17 12:01 .
 drwxr-xr-x. 19 root root 4096 Apr 14 12:45 ..
 -rw-r--r--  1 root root    0 Apr 17 12:00 allthethings.txt
 -rw-------  1 root root  483 Apr 14 12:45 .bash_history
 -rw-r--r--. 1 root root   18 Dec 28  2013 .bash_logout
 -rw-r--r--. 1 root root  176 Dec 28  2013 .bash_profile
 -rw-r--r--. 1 root root  361 Jan  1 01:24 .bashrc
 drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4096 Jan  1 01:25 .cache/
 drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4096 Jan  1 01:25 .config/
 -rw-r--r--. 1 root root  100 Dec 28  2013 .cshrc
 -rw-r--r--  1 root root    0 Apr 17 12:01 garbage.file
 -rw-r--r--  1 root root    0 Apr 17 11:58 important.doc
 drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 Apr 17 11:59 Indominus/
 drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 Apr 17 11:57 Misc/
 -rw-------  1 root root   42 Apr 14 12:44 .my.cnf
 -rw-r--r--  1 root root    0 Apr 17 12:00 probs.xls
 drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 Apr 17 11:57 Red Wings/
 -rw-------  1 root root 1024 Jan  1 01:22 .rnd
 drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 Apr 17 11:56 Spreadsheets/
 drw-------  2 root root 4096 Apr 14 12:42 .ssh/
 -rw-r--r--. 1 root root  129 Dec 28  2013 .tcshrc
 drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 Apr 17 11:57 Work/

In the above case two switches are added: -l and -a. The -l uses the long listing format, and the -a switch lists all the files, including hidden files.

Each column contains an important bit of information:

Column | Information | Example

  • 1 | Permissions | drwxr-xr-x
  • 2 | # of Hard Links | 2
  • 3 | User That Owns File or Directory | root
  • 4 | Group for File or Directory | root
  • 5 | File Size | 4096
  • 6 | Timestamp | Apr 17 11:59
  • 7 | Filename | Indominus/

pwd : What Directory Am I Running Commands In?

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