Finding your way on a Linux System Part 1

Command-line is used basically in Linux. This is the communication means between the user and the system. It’s a very complex tool. Each command has its own key unique option, therefore documentation is key when working with a Linux system.

There are many methods to get help from the Linux command lines such as man, help, and info but are only a few we will focus on here.

Built-in Help

When started with the –help parameter, most commands display some brief instructions about their usage. Instructions from –help parameter is rather brief as compared to others.

GNU bash, version 5.0.17(1)-release (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)
These shell commands are defined internally.  Type `help' to see this list.
Type `help name' to find out more about the function `name'.
Use `info bash' to find out more about the shell in general.
Use `man -k' or `info' to find out more about commands not in this list.

Man pages

Most commands provide a manual page or a ‘man page’. This documentation comes with the software and can be accessed with the man command. For example, man mkdir

$ man mkdir

This command opens the man page for Mkdir. You can navigate through using up and down arrow keys. To exit the man page press q for quiet.

MKDIR(1)                         User Commands                        MKDIR(1)

       mkdir - make directories

       mkdir [OPTION]... DIRECTORY...

       Create the DIRECTORY(ies), if they do not already exist.

       Mandatory  arguments  to  long  options are mandatory for short options

       -m, --mode=MODE
              set file mode (as in chmod), not a=rwx - umask

       -p, --parents
              no error if existing, make parent directories as needed

       -v, --verbose
              print a message for each created directory

Info pages

The info pages are usually more detailed than the man pages and are formatted in hypertext, similar to web pages on the internet.

$ info mkdir
Next: mkfifo invocation,  Prev: ln invocation,  Up: Special file types

12.3 ‘mkdir’: Make directories

‘mkdir’ creates directories with the specified names.  Synopsis:

     mkdir [OPTION]... NAME...

   ‘mkdir’ creates each directory NAME in the order given.  It reports
an error if NAME already exists, unless the ‘-p’ option is given and
NAME is a directory.

   The program accepts the following options.  Also see *note Common

‘-m MODE’
     Set the file permission bits of created directories to MODE, which
     uses the same syntax as in ‘chmod’ and uses ‘a=rwx’ (read, write
     and execute allowed for everyone) for the point of the departure.
     *Note File permissions::.
-----Info: (coreutils)mkdir invocation, 65 lines --Top--------------------------
Welcome to Info version 6.7.  Type H for help, h for tutorial.

Locating Files

The locate command

The locate command searches within the database and then outputs every name that matches a given string.

$ locate note

The find command

The find command is used to search for files in the directories. Find searches a directory tree recursively. It does not maintain the database as locate command. Find requires the path to search.

Next article we will explore directories and listing of files in Linux

About Kipkoech Sang

I am a technology enthusiast who loves to share gained knowledge through offering daily tips as a way of empowering others. I am fan of Linux and all other things open source.
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