Department of Mathematics

Math 300: Mathematical Computing

Basic Linux Commands

One does not need to know very many commands in order to get around on a connection to a remote machine pretty easily. Here we give a simple list of some of the most commonly used commands for Linux/Unix. Note that most commands can accept options that change their behavior. For example, ls provides a listing of the contents of the current directory, while ls -l gives that listing in long format, including many more details about each file in the directory. On the other hand, ls -a lists all the files in the directory, including the "hidden" ones. We can mix options simply by chaining them together; e.g. ls -la gives a listing of all files in a long format.

Remember that you can get a full description of the usage of any command by typing man commandname in a terminal.
CommandFunctionExample Formats
cdChange Directory cd
cd directory/path
chmodChange Mode - file permissions chmod u+w file_name
chmod 755 file_name
cpCopy files cp from_file to_file
exitExit the shell exit
lessList contents of a file less file_name
lsList filenames in a directory ls
ls -l
ls file_name
manManual pages man cp
man mv
mkdirMake a Directory mkdir directory_name
mvMove a file mv from_file to_file
nanoStart a primitive editor nano file_name
pwdPrint Working Directory pwd
rmRemove a file rm file_name
rmdirRemove a Directory rmdir directory_name

There are a few "wildcard" characters that can match many things. The question mark matches any single character. Thus, ls image?.jpg would list all of the files image1.jpg, image9.jpg, and imageA.jpg on a directory, but would not list image23.jpg The asterisk matches any number of characters, so that ls image*.jpg would list image1.jpg, image23.jpg and image49027.jpg.

The last test will take place at the final exam time on Tuesday, 12 December, from 1:30-3:30. It will be written as a one-hour (not 50 minute) exam, but you may have the full two hours for it. In other respects it will be very like the other tests, but comprehensive - it will emphasize Python, but cover all the topics we have seen. There is a Sample Exam, but be aware that things will have changed somewhat with the advent of ChatGPT.

The scores are posted on the Info tab at My.math. Notify the instructor of discrepancies immediately.

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