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Basic Shell Commands in Linux
  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 12 Mar, 2021

A shell is a special user program that provides an interface to the user to use operating system services. Shell accepts human-readable commands from the user and converts them into something which the kernel can understand. It is a command language interpreter that executes commands read from input devices such as keyboards or from files. The shell gets started when the user logs in or starts the terminal. 

1). Displaying the file contents on the terminal: 

  • cat: It is generally used to concatenate the files. It gives the output on the standard output.
  • more: It is a filter for paging through text one screenful at a time.

  • less: It is used to viewing the files instead of opening the file.Similar to more command but it allows backward as well as forward movement.

  • head : Used to print the first N lines of a file. It accepts N as input and the default value of N is 10.
  • tail : Used to print the last N-1 lines of a file. It accepts N as input and the default value of N is 10.



2). File and Directory Manipulation Commands: 

  • mkdir : Used to create a directory if not already exist. It accepts the directory name as an input parameter.

  • cp : This command will copy the files and directories from the source path to the destination path. It can copy a file/directory with the new name to the destination path. It accepts the source file/directory and destination file/directory.

  • mv : Used to move the files or directories. This command’s working is almost similar to cp command but it deletes a copy of the file or directory from the source path.

  • rm : Used to remove files or directories.

  • touch : Used to create or update a file.

3). Extract, sort, and filter data Commands: 

  • grep : This command is used to search for the specified text in a file.



  • grep with Regular Expressions: Used to search for text using specific regular expressions in file.

  • sort : This command is used to sort the contents of files.

  • wc : Used to count the number of characters, words in a file.

  • cut : Used to cut a specified part of a file.

4). Basic Terminal Navigation Commands: 

  • ls : To get the list of all the files or folders.
  • ls -l: Optional flags are added to ls to modify default behavior, listing contents in extended form -l is used for “long” output
  • ls -a: Lists of all files including the hidden files, add -a  flag 
  • cd: Used to change the directory.
  • du: Show disk usage.
  • pwd: Show the present working directory.
  • man: Used to show the manual of any command present in Linux.
  • rmdir: It is used to delete a directory if it is empty.
  • ln file1 file2: Creates a physical link.
  • ln -s file1 file2: Creates a symbolic link.
  • locate: It is used to locate a file in Linux System
  • echo:  This command helps us move some data, usually text into a file.
  • df: It is used to see the available disk space in each of the partitions in your system.
  • tar: Used to work with tarballs (or files compressed in a tarball archive)

5). File Permissions Commands: The chmod and chown commands are used to control access to files in UNIX and Linux systems. 

  • chown : Used to change the owner of the file.
  • chgrp : Used to change the group owner of the file.
  • chmod : Used to modify the access/permission of a user.

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