DEV Community

loading...
Cover image for 8 Linux Commands Everyone Should Know

8 Linux Commands Everyone Should Know

Boyan Iliev
I am an 18-year-old high schooler, that loves web development and is looking forward to his journey as a developer.
Originally published at devdojo.com ・4 min read

Introduciton

It's a well-known fact that developers use terminals. And using a terminal is something that everybody should know. It is a good thing to know and do because it will help you in so many ways. It will help you in that job interview, or just in your everyday life. You must at least have the basic knowledge of how to use a terminal. For example how to change directories and view them and how to create a file.

In this post, I am going to show you some of the basic commands and how to get around in a terminal and not be completely lost.

1. pwd

pwd means Print Working Directory. It shows you the full path to your current directory. This is used so you don't get lost in all those directories that you have. If you don't know what a directory is, it is pretty much like a folder. It stores other folders and files in it.

pwd
/Users/user1
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

2. ls

The ls stands for List Files. It will show you the files and directories that are in your current directory.

ls
xmen avengers justiceLeague
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

3. cd

Now that you know how to list your files in your working directory and how to print the path to it, you will need to Change Directory. This is done by typing the cd command. You just have to type it and then next to it type the directory you want to visit. But this command only moves forward and backward. This means you can't just type a directory name that is deep inside your files just by typing its name. You have to type the full path to that dir.

cd avengers
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

If you want to go in multiple dirs, you need to use / after every dir, and then type the directory you want to visit inside the previous one.

cd ironMan/suitMark85
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

If you want to go back one dir, you need to type cd ... You could mix this with other dir like this:

cd ../../captainAmerica/steveRogers
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Or if you just type cd by itself, it will send you to the home directory.

4. mkdir

Now that we know how to go to a directory and how to view what's inside them, we need to learn how to make one. It is done through the mkdir command. You just type the command and add the new directory name next to it.

mkdir secretDir
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

If you want to create multiple dir at once, just type all of them next to each other.

mkdir secretDir1 secretDir2 secretDir3
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

When doing these kinds of things be sure to use the pwd command so you know in which dir you are so that you don't create the new dirs in the wrong one.

5. man

The man command is used to check the manuals of a certain command. When you are not sure what a command does and what to have a detailed look at it, just type the man command and add the other command next to it.

man ls
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

When you are done viewing the manual, press q so that you can leave the file.

6. touch

The touch command creates a file (or multiple). It is almost the same as mkdir, but it's not used for making directories but for files with an extension(.txt, .html, .css ...).

touch index.html style.css app.js
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

7. nano

nano is a text editor using a command-line interface. When you create a file and want to add something small to it, just use nano to add it.

In order to edit a file, just type nano and the file name next to it.

nano index.html
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Note that if there isn't such a file in your directory, for example, the index.html one, it will create a new one. So this means that you wouldn't need to use the touch command. bUt it's best to create a file with touch and then go to your code editor and do your coding there. nano is best used for those minor changes like for example a typo.

There are some shortcuts that would be nice for you to know. I would recommend checking this post out on some of those shortcuts.

11 Nano shortcuts that you should know

8. rm

Now that we know how to view dirs, create them, create files and edit them, we need to learn how to delete them. Deleting a dir or file is done with the rm command. You definitely want to be careful with this, because if you delete a file or dir, you won't be able to get it back. So if you want to delete a file just type rm and then the file name. Or if you want to remove multiple files, just type their names next to each other

rm index.html style.css app.js
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Now if you want to remove a directory you can use rmdir, but this will only remove a dir that is empty. In order to delete a dir that is not empty, use the rm command with the flags -rf. If you don't know what flags are, think of them as extra options for your command. The ls command has lots of flags. I would recommend that you check the manual of the ls command so that you can see all its available flags.

So deleting a directory with other dirs or files inside should be done like this:

rm -rf avengers
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Be very careful with these commands because if you delete a file or dir by accident, you won't be able to get them back

If you want to see some examples and a more detailed explanation for some of these commands be sure to check out this video:

Conclusion

Knowing how to use a terminal is crucial. It is. a huge bonus to know at least these commands, which will help you a lot.

I hope that this post has helped you and that you will be a little bit more confident the next time you see a terminal.

Discussion (3)

Collapse
jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy

touch is actually for updating the access and modification times of the given file or files to the current time. The fact that it creates new files if they don't currently exist is merely a convenient side effect - it is not the command's primary purpose

Collapse
moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I wrote an entire post about that once :)

Collapse
boiliev profile image
Boyan Iliev Author

I didn't know that. Thank you for clarifying!