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UNIX Commands


These are ten commands that you really need to know in order to get started with UNIX. They are probably similar to commands you already know for another operating system.

Command Example Description
  1.    ls
ls –alF
Lists files in current directory
List in long format
  1.    cd
cd tempdir
cd ..
cd ~dhyatt/web-docs
Change directory to tempdir
Move back one directory
Move into dhyatt’s web-docs directory
  1.    mkdir
mkdir graphics Make a directory called graphics
  1.    rmdir
rmdir emptydir Remove directory (must be empty)
  1.    cp
cp file1 web-docs
cp file1 file1.bak
Copy file into directory
Make backup of file1
  1.    rm
rm file1.bak
rm *.tmp
Remove or delete file
Remove all file
  1.    mv
mv old.html new.html Move or rename files
  1.    more
more index.html Look at file, one page at a time
  1.    lpr
lpr index.html Send file to printer
  1.  man
man ls Online manual (help) about command



Once you have mastered the basic UNIX commands, these will be quite valuable in managing your own account.

Command Example Description
  1.    grep <str><files>
grep “bad word” * Find which files contain a certain word
  1.    chmod <opt> <file>
chmod 644 *.html
chmod 755 file.exe
Change file permissions read only
Change file permissions to executable
  1.    passwd
passwd Change passwd
  1.    ps <opt>
ps aux
ps -ef   |   grep java
List all running processes by #ID
List process #ID’s running by java
  1.    kill <opt> <ID>
kill -9 8453 Kill process with ID #8453
  1.    gcc (g++) <source>
gcc file.c -o file
g++ fil2.cpp -o fil2
Compile a program written in C
Compile a program written in C++
  1.    gzip <file>
gzip bigfile
gunzip bigfile.gz
Compress file
Uncompress file
  1.    mail
mail < file1
Send file1 by email to someone
Read mail using pine
  1.    telnet <host>
    ssh <host>
ssh -l dhyatt
Open a connection to vortex
Open a secure connection to jazz as user dhyatt
  1.  ftp <host>
    ncftp <host/directory>
Upload or Download files to station1
Connect to archives at UNC


Ten FUN UNIX Commands

These are ten commands that you might find interesting or amusing. They are actually quite helpful at times, and should not be considered idle entertainment.

Command Example Description
  1.    who
who Lists who is logged on your machine
  1.    finger
finger Lists who is on computers in the lab
  1.    ytalk <user@place>
ytalk dhyatt@threat Talk online with dhyatt who is on threat
  1.    history
history Lists commands you’ve done recently
  1.    fortune
fortune Print random humerous message
  1.    date
date Print out current date
  1.    cal <mo> <yr>
cal 9 2000 Print calendar for September 2000
  1.    xeyes
xeyes & Keep track of cursor (in “background”)
  1.    xcalc
xcalc & Calculator (“background” process)
  1.  mpage <opt> <file>
mpage -8 file1   |  lpr Print 8 pages on a single sheet and send to printer (the font will be small!)



These ten commands are very helpful, especially with graphics and word processing type applications.

Command Example Description
  1.    netscape
netscape & Run Netscape browser
  1.    xv
xv & Run graphics file converter
  1.    xfig / xpaint
xfig & (xpaint &) Run drawing program
  1.    gimp
gimp & Run photoshop type program
  1.    ispell <fname>
ispell file1 Spell check file1
  1.    latex <fname>
latex file.tex Run LaTeX, a scientific document tool
  1.    xemacs / pico
xemacs (or pico) Different editors
  1.    soffice
soffice & Run StarOffice, a full word processor
  1.    m-tools (mdir, mcopy,
    mdel, mformat, etc. )
mdir a:
mcopy file1   a:
DOS commands from UNIX (dir A:)
Copy file1 to A:
  1.  gnuplot
gnuplot Plot data graphically


Ten USEFUL UNIX Commands:

These ten commands are useful for monitoring system access, or simplifying your own environment.

Command Example Description
  1.    df
df See how much free disk space
  1.    du
du -b subdir Estimate disk usage of directory in Bytes
  1.    alias
alias lls=”ls -alF” Create new command “lls” for long format of ls
  1.    xhost
xhost +
xhost –
Permit window to display from x-window program from threat
Allow no x-window access from other systems
  1.    fold
fold -s file1   |   lpr Fold or break long lines at 60 characters and send to printer
  1.    tar
tar -cf subdir.tar subdir
tar -xvf subdir.tar
Create an archive called subdir.tar of a directory
Extract files from an archive file
  1.    ghostview (gv)
gv View a Postscript file
  1.    ping
See if machine is alive
Print data path to a machine
  1.    top
top Print system usage and top resource hogs
  1.  logout (exit)
logout or exit How to quit a UNIX shell.


To check your disk utilization on Solaris or Linux, use the iostat -D <interval> command, where the interval value determines how many seconds you want to elapse between monitoring cycles. To check your CPU utilization, simply leave off the -D flag (iostat <interval>).

For Windows, use the Performance Monitor tool (perfmon), to monitor both your disk and CPU utilization.


TCP (transmission control protocol) socket performance, set the tcp_time_wait_interval parameter as follows:

ndd -set /dev/tcp tcp_time_wait_interval 60000


Check the amount of data transferred between the application and the application server, and between the application server and the database server.

netstat -s -P tcp


Use Kill -3 PID, where PID is the root of the process tree.

To obtain the root PID, perform a: ps -efHl | grep ‘java’ **. **


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