Common Linux Commands

The following is a list of some of the commands commonly available on a Linux system. Because implementations vary as to the exact commands supported you may find commands on this list that are not supported on your particular Linux implementation. Conversely, your Linux implementation may also support commands that are not on this list.

aliasesaliases file for sendmail.
atexecute command at specific date/time.
awkpattern processing language.
batchexecute commands when load permits.
bcinteractive integer calculator.
calprint a calendar.
calendarinvoke reminder service.
cancelcancel a request to a printer.
catconcatenate files and display their contents.
cdchange the current working directory.
chgrpchange group ownership of files.
chmodchange access permissions for files.
chownchange ownership of files.
clearclear terminal screen.
cmpcompare two files.
copycopy groups of files in directories.
cpcopy files.
cpioarchive and extract files.
crondaemon to execute batch and at commands.
crontabschedule commands at regular intervals.
cancelcancel a request to a printer.
cryptencrypt and decrypt files.
cshinvoke the C shell.
csplitsplit one file into several.
cucall another unix system.
cutcut selected fields from each line of a file.
datedisplay current date, also allows root to change date.
ddconvert and copy a file.
dfreport on free disk space.
diffcompare two text files.
diff3compare three text files.
dircmpcompare two directories.
dureport disk usage.
dumpfile system backup.
echoechoes input to standard output.
edline oriented text editor.
egrepextended version of grep command.
ejecteject media (floppy, cd etc.) from the specified drive.
exprevaluate boolean and arithmetic expressions.
falsereturns a non-zero exit status.
fgrepfast version of grep command.
filereport type of file.
findfind matching files and perform specified action.
fingerreport user information.
formatformat a disk or cartridge tape.
ftpinvoke File Transfer Protocol to transfer files to/from a remote system.
grepsearch files for regular expression matches.
groffformat files for printing.
gzipcompress or expand a file.
headdisplay the first few lines of a file.
iconfigconfigure a network interface.
ipfwadmIP firewall and accounting administration.
insmodload a kernel module.
joindisplay the lines between two files having common fields.
killsend a signal to a process (a terminate signal by default).
kshinvoke the Korn shell.
lineshell script command to read a line from a file.
lncreate a link to a file.
lognameget a login name.
lpsend request to printer.
lpcadminister print queues.
lprsend request to printer for offline printing.
lprmremove a job from the print queue.
lpqreport printer status.
lslist the contents of a directory.
lsmodlist loaded kernel modules.
mailsend and receive mail.
makecompile and link utility to maintain groups of programs.
mandisplay or print pages from an online reference manual.
mesggrant or deny permission to receive write messages from other users.
mkdirmake a new directory.
mke2fscreate a linux second extended file system.
mknodbuild a special file.
mkswapset up a linux swap area.
moredisplay a file one page at a time.
mountmount a special file or report its status.
mtoolsread or write MS-DOS or Windows disks.
mvmove or rename a file.
netstatdisplay network connections.
passwdupdate a user's authentication token (ie. password).
pingsend echo request packets to network hosts.
restorerestore files from backups made with dump.
rmremove files.
rmdirremove empty directories.
routeshow or manipulate the routing table.
rpmred hat package manager.
shutdownshut down the system.
sshsecure client shell remote login.
surun a shell with a substitute user (default substitution is root).
tar(tape) archiving facility, compression program.
testtest various expressions.
timedisplay elapsed execution, process, and system times for a command.
touchupdate the date and time stamp on a file.
trsubstitute sets of characters.
truereturn zero exit status.
tsetset terminal modes.
ttyreport name of terminal.
umaskset file creation mode permission mask.
umountunmount a device.
unamedisplay the name of the current system.
uniqreport any duplicate lines in a file.
unziplist, test, and extract compressed files in a zip archive.
uptimereport system activity.
useraddcreate a new user or update default new user info.
usermodmodify a user account.
uucpcopy files between two unix systems.
uulogreport on UUCP status.
uunamelist UUCP sites known to this one.
uudecodedecode to binary after uuencode transmission.
uuencodeencode binary for email transmission.
uustatreport status for or cancel UUCP jobs.
uupickreceive public files sent via uuto.
uutosend public files to another unix system.
uuxexecute a command on a remote unix system.
viscreen oriented text editor.
wallsend a message to all users (from root).
waitawait completion of background tasks.
wccount characters, words, or lines in one or more files.
whoreport on active users.
whoissearch for user information.
writesend a message to another user.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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