Using the command line in linux – part 3

Now that we’ve logged in and learned how to move from one directory to another (and find where we are if we get lost…) it’s probably time to start learning how to find out about other commands. Well, if you press tab at the command line you will likely see something that starts like this….
Display all 4601 possibilities? (y or n)
and if you answer with a “y” you will see a long list of programs that could be run. That’s not usually the best way to find a program though.

One of the things I like in linux is good console based help features…. let’s say I want to burn a cd, but I don’t know what tool to use…. $apropos cd

I get a long list… but one entry that might catch the eye is ….
cdrecord (1) – record audio or data Compact Disks or Digital Versatile Disks from a master

okay, so how do we use it?

“cdrecord –help”

will tell us a lot, but might not be as helpful as….

“man cdrecord” which will give us a “manual” page as well….

most commands like cdrecord watch to see what “options” have been requested of the program. In the above example –help is an “option” –help is usually used to list what options a program accepts and gives a brief explanation of what each of those does.

If –help doesn’t work, you might try -h (windows tends to use /? ) Many times if you just type the command name without any options (and it expects something) you will get a brief listing of the most commonly used options (options are sometimes called “switches”)

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