Unix/Linux Commands : Know About the Most Used Commands and Their Meaning

What according to you makes a computer work? Just the Central Processing Unit (CPU), also known as the brain of the computer? Well yes, CPU undoubtedly enables a computer to function but, it’s not just the only thing that contributes to its functionality; there’s another thing that plays a vital role and that is, the ‘COMMAND’.

What is a Command?

Won’t complicate it for you guys – ‘Command’ is an instruction that a user gives his/her computer, to do something that could be a single program or multi-linked programs. And, these commands are generally issued by typing them over a command line, for instance, the all-text display mode; and then, you just have to press ‘Enter’!

As simple as it may sound, it’s not very simple.

Brief about Linux & Unix

  • Linux commands are the most important part of a free and open-source operating system.
  • Unix commands are inbuilt programs in your computer that can be invoked in numerous ways.

Commonly Used Commands with Appropriate Meanings

To know in-depth about Unix & Linux Commands and its purpose or functionality, wait for our next blog. Until then, take a look at some of the most used commands (under Linux) and their meanings:

1. Su: This means (S)witch (U)ser or to be more clear – switch to another user. However, you may also consider switching to the root user by invoking this command, with no set parameter.

2. Sudo: This command is meant to run only one or single command with root privileges.

3. Is: This is a command that is used to list down the information regarding files and directories, and that too within the file.

4. cd: Popularly known as ‘Chidr’, this is a command-line shell command that is used to change the existing working directory of various Operating Systems (OS).

5. mkdir/rmdir: The former one – ‘mkdir’ is used to create a new directory whereas, ‘rmdir’ is used to remove the filesystem from Linux.

6. cp: This is a command-line utility that helps in copying files and directories. This command also supports moving one or more files or folders with options for preserving attributes and taking backups.

7. rm: This particular command helps in removing objects such as files, symbolic links and directories from the file systems, just like UNIX.

8. mv: This is an Unix command which is used to move one or more directories and files from one place to another on your computer.

9. pwd: Print Working Directory also known as pwd is a shell built-in command which stores the path of the current directory.

10. touch: Included in Unix and Unix-Like Operating Systems, ‘touch’ is a command that is used for updating the access date as well as the modification date of a computer directory or file.

11. chmod: This command is used to change the access permission of files and directories.

12. ps: This Unix-like operating system command is used to provide information regarding the currently running processes of your computer which includes the Process Identification Numbers (PIDs).

13. grep: This is a command-line utility used for searching plain-text data sets for lines that match a regular expression.

14. tail: The ‘Tail Command’ prints only the last ‘N’ number of data of the given input. By default, it only prints the last 10 lines of the specified files. In case more than 1 filename is provided, then, in that case, the data from each file is preceded by its file name.

15. chown: This command is used to change the owner and group of directories, files, and links.

16. ifconfig: Apart from being to configure the kernel-resident network interfaces, ‘ifconfig command’ is also used to assign the IP address and netmask to an interface, or to disable or enable a given interface.

17. wget: This is a command-line utility that is used for downloading files from the Internet. It supports –

  • Downloading multiple files
  • Downloading in the background
  • Resuming downloads
  • Limiting the bandwidth used for downloads
  • Viewing headers

18. which: This command is one of the most popular Linux commands. This is used to identify the location of a given executable which is executed while you are typing the executable name in the terminal prompt. The ‘which command’ looks out for the executable specified as an argument in the directories that are listed in the PATH environment variable.

19. apt-get: This is a command-line tool that helps in handling the packages in Linux. Its prime work is to retrieve information and packages from the authenticated sources for upgrade, installation, and removal of packages with their dependencies.

20. kill: This command is used to terminate processes manually.

21. fuser: The is a Unix command that is used to show which processes are using a specified – computer file system, file, or a Unix socket.

22. vi/nano: ‘Vi’ also known as the ‘Visual Editor’ is a default editor and ‘Nano’ is a text editor that comes with the UNIX operating system.

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