Using the command line in linux – part 2



This is part two in a series of “how to use the command line in linux” style articles…. these are intended to be quite basic for those that have not used a command line before…. In part one we logged in (if necessary) and found out about the help command, navigated a bit with the arrows and exit -ed from our login. This time we’ll try to learn a bit more about dealing with files and navigating. In a graphical interface, if you browse files, you’re presented with a list of files and folders for a directory that you can scroll through and read at your leisure. In the command line we have to tell the computer to list the files and folders for the directory that we’re currently “in” to list those in linux, we use the ls command….


When you log in under linux and open a command shell, you are usually put in your “home directory” (/home/username/)

$ls
10-23-05-username.xpm dead.letter Documents/ potatohead122804.tuberling music.raw tmp/
9-20-05-.xpm Desktop/ Download/ Music/ Pictures/ Video/

So…. let’s see, items with / after them are directories, everything else we see is a file.

how should we move to a folder to look? we need to “change directories” don’t we? cd is the command to use…

cd Documents (remember linux is case sensitive…) and press enter…
now ls
document.txt

there are some handy shortcuts too… to move “up” a directory type cd .. and we move “up” in the hierarchy (through nested folders) by one folder. We could also go directly to a folder by specifying it “explicitly” “cd /home/avery/Documents/web” for instance would take me to that folder no matter where I currently have the console open to.

If you get lost, you might type “pwd” to see the “present working directory”

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