Open-source Linux is a popular alternative to Microsoft Windows, and if you choose to use this low-cost or free operating system, you need to know some basic Linux commands to configure, operate, and interact with your system smoothly.
When dealing with the Linux operating system, commands are required as inputs to inform or direct a computer program to perform a specific operation. Understanding the most basic Linux commands will allow you to successfully navigate directories, manipulate files, change permissions, display information such as disk space, and more. Obtaining basic knowledge of the most common commands will help you easily execute tasks via the command line.
Find the most common Linux commands in this table:
|cat [filename]||Display file’s contents to the standard output device
(usually your monitor).
|cd /directorypath||Change to directory.|
|chmod [options] mode filename||Change a file’s permissions.|
|chown [options] filename||Change who owns a file.|
|clear||Clear a command line screen/window for a fresh start.|
|cp [options] source destination||Copy files and directories.|
|date [options]||Display or set the system date and time.|
|df [options]||Display used and available disk space.|
|du [options]||Show how much space each file takes up.|
|file [options] filename||Determine what type of data is within a file.|
|find [pathname] [expression]||Search for files matching a provided pattern.|
|grep [options] pattern [filesname]||Search files or output for a particular pattern.|
|kill [options] pid||Stop a process. If the process refuses to stop, use kill -9 pid.|
|less [options] [filename]||View the contents of a file one page at a time.|
|ln [options] source [destination]||Create a shortcut.|
|locate filename||Search a copy of your filesystem for the specified
|lpr [options]||Send a print job.|
|ls [options]||List directory contents.|
|man [command]||Display the help information for the specified command.|
|mkdir [options] directory||Create a new directory.|
|mv [options] source destination||Rename or move file(s) or directories.|
|passwd [name [password]]||Change the password or allow (for the system administrator) to
change any password.
|ps [options]||Display a snapshot of the currently running processes.|
|pwd||Display the pathname for the current directory.|
|rm [options] directory||Remove (delete) file(s) and/or directories.|
|rmdir [options] directory||Delete empty directories.|
|ssh [options] user@machine||Remotely log in to another Linux machine, over the network.
Leave an ssh session by typing exit.
|su [options] [user [arguments]]||Switch to another user account.|
|tail [options] [filename]||Display the last n lines of a file (the default is
|tar [options] filename||Store and extract files from a tarfile (.tar) or tarball (.tar.gz or .tgz).|
|top||Displays the resources being used on your system. Press q to
|touch filename||Create an empty file with the specified name.|
|who [options]||Display who is logged on.|