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					                         12 useful Linux file manipulation
                                                                                                                  Version 1.0
                         commands you should know                                                                May 23, 2005




By Mellonfire


Takeaway
This download shortens the Linux learning curve by providing a ready reference to common file system tasks and
their respective Linux commands.




Linux commands
There are certain file manipulation tasks common to every operating system. These include tasks like copying
and moving files, creating directories, creating and formatting partitions, and listing file contents.
Graphical operating systems like MacOS X and Microsoft Windows make it easy to perform these tasks through a
point-and-click interface. Users familiar with these systems can thus be forgiven their trepidation about making the
transition to Linux, which more closely resembles the MS-DOS command line. Although graphical interfaces do
exist for Linux (KDE at http://www.kde.org/ is a good example), command-line usage tends to be faster and
more flexible.
This download shortens the Linux learning curve by providing a ready reference to common file system tasks and
their respective Linux commands. Each command is described in brief, with a sample command line and a list of
useful options. Try these commands out for yourself as you read along, and you'll soon be a pro at working with
files in Linux!




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12 useful Linux file manipulation commands you should know




   You Want             Command                     Description                     Sample                Useful Options
      To                                                                            Usage
 Obtain a             ls dir                 The ls command                    ls /tmp                     ls -al: List all
 directory listing                           produces a listing of all                                     files (including
                                             the files in a directory.                                     hidden files), with
                                             Detailed information on                                       complete file
                                             file attributes such as                                       details.
                                             ownership and size can                                        ls --color:
                                             also be obtained with this                                    Colorize listings by
                                             command.                                                      file type
 Copy a file          cp source              The cp command creates            cp *.txt /tmp               cp -i: Prompt
                      destination            a copy of a file or                                           before overwriting
                                             directory.                                                    pre-existing files
                                                                                                           cp -R: Copy
                                                                                                           directories
                                                                                                           recursively
                                                                                                           cp -u: Update
                                                                                                           destination only if
                                                                                                           source is newer
 Move or              mv source              The mv command moves              mv data.txt                 mv -b: Backup
 rename a file or     destination            a file or directory from          /tmp/data.asc               destination before
 directory                                   one location to another. It                                   moving
                                             can also be used to                                           mv -i: Prompt
                                             rename a file or directory.                                   before overwriting
                                                                                                           pre-existing files
 Create a             mkdir dir              The mkdir command                 mkdir                   mkdir -p: Create
 directory                                   creates an empty                  /tmp/users/st           parent directories if
                                             directory in a specified          uff                     they don't already exist
                                             location.
 Delete a file or     rm file                The rm command deletes            rm                           rm -rf:
 directory                                   a file from the file system.      /tmp/data.asc                Recursively delete
                                             It can also be used to                                         directories (even if
                                             delete directories.                                            they contain files)
                                                                                                            without prompting
                                             Note: This operation is                                        rm -i: Prompt
                                             irreversible.                                                  before deleting files
                                                                                                            or directories
 Check disk or        du dir                 The du command                    du /tmp                      du -h: Print disk
 directory usage                             produces statistics on the                                     usage values in
                                             disk space consumed by                                         human-readable
                                             a particular directory and                                     format
                                             its subdirectories.                                            du -s: Print
                                                                                                            summary totals
                                                                                                            only
                                                                                                            du -S: Exclude
                                                                                                            subdirectories from
                                                                                                            disk usage
                                                                                                            calculation
 Check the file       fsck                   The fsck command                  fsck /                       fsck -A: Check
 system for           filesystem             checks a Linux file                                            all mounted file
 errors                                      system for errors. It can                                      systems for errors
                                             optionally repair any                                          fsck -r:
                                             errors found.                                                  Interactively repair
                                                                                                            the filesystem

                                                            Page 2
                                      Copyright ©2005 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.
          For more downloads and a free TechRepublic membership, please visit http://techrepublic.com.com/2001-6240-0.html
12 useful Linux file manipulation commands you should know



   You Want            Command                     Description                     Sample                Useful Options
      To                                                                           Usage
 Format a disk       mkfs                   The mkfs command                  mkfs -t msdos                mkfs -t type:
 partition           partition              formats partition to use a        /dev/hda1                    Format using file
                                            specified file system. A                                       system type
                                            variety of different file                                      mkfs -c: Check
                                            systems are supported,                                         for bad blocks
                                            including ext2, ext3,                                          during format
                                            reiserfs, FAT and VFAT
                                            Note: This command
                                            erases all data on the
                                            named partition in an
                                            irreversible operation.
 Check a file's      file file              The file command                  file
 type                                       detects the type of a file.       ~/stuff.zip
                                            This is a quick way to
                                            identify an unknown file.

 Alter a file's      chown owner       The chown command                      chown                        chown -R:
 ownership and       file              alters the user/group                  joe.users                    Recursively alter
 permissions                           ownership of a file, while             data.txt                     ownerships
                    chmod perms        the chmod command                                                   chown -c: Print a
                    file               alters the corresponding               chmod 744                    status message
                                       read/write/execute                     data.txt                     only if ownership is
                                       permissions. These                                                  actually changed
                                       commands are invaluable
                                       to set up access
                                       privileges between
                                       different users of a Linux
                                       system.
 Find a file by     find path          The find command                       find /tmp -                  find -maxdepth
 name               test pattern       retrieves a list of all files          name *.txt                   n: Search to a
                                       matching a particular                                               maximum of n
                                       pattern in a directory tree.                                        levels deep in the
                                       Support for sophisticated                                           directory tree
                                       patterns makes this an                                              find -mount:
                                       extremely powerful                                                  Limit search to
                                       search tool, and one you                                            current file system
                                       will use often.
 Create a link or   ln source          The ln command                         ln -s                        ln -s: Create a
 shortcut to a file destination        creates a link to a file.              /usr/local/my                symbolic link
                                       Linux supports both "soft"             sql-4.0                      ln -f: Overwrite a
                                       (symbolic) and "hard"                  /usr/mysql                   pre-existing link
                                       (real) links; ln's default                                          with the same
                                       behavior is to create hard                                          name
                                       links.
Note: You can obtain detailed help on any command by typing man               command-name followed by Enter at the
Linux shell prompt.




                                                           Page 3
                                     Copyright ©2005 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.
         For more downloads and a free TechRepublic membership, please visit http://techrepublic.com.com/2001-6240-0.html
12 useful Linux file manipulation commands you should know




Additional resources
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•   Explore the possibilities of Linux networking with this primer (Download)
•   Book Excerpt: Linux Quick Fix Notebook (Download)
•   Point & Click Linux!: Dipping a toe into the command-line waters (Download)


Version history
Version: 1.0
Published: May 23, 2005




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Description: There are certain file manipulation tasks common to every operating system. These include tasks like copying and moving files, creating directories, creating and formatting partitions, and listing file contents.