Shell commands

Linux shell or the terminal is the life line of the developers, and of any power user. Things which can be done on the GUI (by clicking on different buttons), can be done much efficiently on the terminal by using commands. One can not remember all the commands, but with regular usage one can easily remember the most useful ones.

The following guide will introduce you to some basic minimal commands required to use your Linux computer efficiently.

Gnome Terminal


The above is the screenshot of the Gnome terminal application. As you can see the command prompt contains these following information:

[username@hostname directoryname]

In our case the username is babai, hostname is kdas-laptop, and directory is mentioned as ~. This ~ is a special character in our case. It means the home directory of the user. In our case the home directory path is /home/babai/.

pwd command

pwd command will help you to find out the current directory. Let us see an example below:

[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ pwd

cd command

The next command we will learn is cd. This command will help you to change your current directory. We will move to /tmp directory in our example.:

[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ cd /tmp
[babai@kdas-laptop tmp]$ pwd
[babai@kdas-laptop tmp]$ cd ~
[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ pwd

Here you can see that first we moved to /tmp directory, and then we moved back to the home directory by using ~ character.

ls command

We use ls command to view the files and directories inside any given directory. If you use ls command without any argument, then it will work on the current directory. We will see few examples of the command below.:

[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ ls
Desktop  Documents  Downloads  Music  Pictures  Public  Templates  Videos
[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ ls /tmp/
cpython           systemd-private-759094c89c594c07a90156139ec4b969-colord.service-hwU1hR
hogsuspend        systemd-private-759094c89c594c07a90156139ec4b969-rtkit-daemon.service-AwylGa
hsperfdata_babai  tracker-extract-files.1000
plugtmp           tracker-extract-files.1002
[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ ls /
bin   cpython  etc   lib    lost+found  mnt  proc  run   srv  sysroot  usr
boot  dev      home  lib64  media       opt  root  sbin  sys  tmp      var

In the last two commands we provided a path as the argument to the ls command. / is a special directory, which represents root directory in Linux filesystem. You will know more in the next chapter.

mkdir command

We can create new directories using mkdir command. For our example we will create a code directory in our home directory.:

[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ mkdir code
[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ ls
code  Desktop  Documents  Downloads  Music  Pictures  Public  Templates  Videos

We can also create directories in a recursive way using -p option.:

[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ mkdir -p dir1/dir2/dir3
[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ ls dir1/ dir1/dir2/


rm command

rm command is used to remove a file, or directory. The -rf option is being used to remove in a recursive way.:

[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ rm -rf dir1/dir2/dir3
[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ ls dir1/ dir1/dir2/


tree command

tree command prints the directory structure in a nice visual tree design way.:

[babai@kdas-laptop ~]$ tree
├── code
├── Desktop
├── dir1
│   └── dir2
├── Documents
├── Downloads
├── Music
├── Pictures
│   └── terminal1.png
├── Public
├── Templates
└── Videos