The general syntax of them is: command [-options] [arguments]
Getting help / information about a given command: man <command's_name>
or <command's_name> - -help | more
The Basic commands
We will use the command 'cat' to create and to read files, although we will discuss it only next week:
cat > file_name puts the text we are typing into the file, and we finish the fily by typing ^d (where ^ refers to CTRL)
cat file_name gives us the content of that file.
cd : change (working) directory
Going home with 'cd' or 'cd ~'
pwd : print working directory
who : who are logged in?
'whoami' or 'who am i'
date : gives the actual date and time
cal [month] year : gives the callendar of that given month / year. Try 'cal 9 1752', and remember what you know about the Julian and the Gregorian calendar!
ls : list
ls lists the actual working directorymkdir : make directory
ls -l gets long list
ls <file_names> lists the given files or directories
ls -R lists recursively the subdirectories
Always list the directory you have just done something! Check yourself after every step!
mkdir <dir_name> [<dir_name>...]
rm, rmdir : remove files and directories
-r : removes the subdirectories recursively
rm -i : asks for affirmation
cp : copy
mv : move
cp / mv [options] <origin>
The destination can be both a file name or a directory
A very-very important rule:
if a file has been removed, there is no possibility forever to recover
it, unlike in the case of DOS!!! (Remember, Unix is designed for multiple
users working parallel in the same file structure.)
Regular Expressions with file names
UNIX gives you the possibility of using wildcards. These are:
x* any name beginning with 'x' (e.g. x, xold, xerxes)
*x* any name containing an 'x' (e.g. x, xold, fox, maxi, xx)
x? any two-character-long name beginning with 'x' (e.g. xx, xy, x2)
x[aeiou] any two-character-long name beginning with an 'x' followed by a vowel (e.g. xa, xu)
x[aeiou]* any name beginning with an 'x' followed by a vowel (e.g. xa, xaver, xerxes)
*.* any name containing a period
[A-Z]* any name beginning with a capital letter.
[1-9] any non-zero number
???? any four-character-long name
????* any at least four-character-long name
???*[0-9.x] any at least four-character-long name ending with a numeral, a period or an 'x'
[!T]* any name not beginning with
a capital T.
Remark: wildcards don't match the '/' characters referring to subdirectories,
neither the initial period of some special file names.
Intro to vi!! Never do anything like 'rm a_*' !(where '_' stands for a space...)
Since we will need to create and to edit longer files than the ones we have created with 'cat', we need to learn how to use some text editors.
vi has been long considered to be the standard editor for Unix. Hopefully you will never need to use it, and you will always have an alternative editor available. (But you never know...). So le'ts have 10 minutes of vi, just in order to be able to appreciate any other text editors.
Start vi by typing: vi <filename>. Then don't panic!
There are tree modes in vi:
- command mode: typing a character means a command, and does not appear on the screen.
- input mode: now you can type in whatever text you wish into your text, to the place where the cursor is.
- status-line mode (last-line mode): issuing long commands that will appear on the bottom line of your screen.
Changing between these modes:
- when you enter vi, you are in the command mode;
- pressing the 'Esc' button ('escape') brings you back always to command mode;
- from command mode 'a' or 'i' brings you to input mode;
- from command mode ':' brings you to the last-line mode.
In the input mode you can just type in your text, but you will sometimes be surprised that you are not able to delete it. Then go back to the command mode (by using Esc) and bring the cursor onto the character you wish to delete. The just press 'x'. Then 'a' or 'i' will bring you back to input mode.
In fact 'x' deletes the given character by putting it into a buffer ("cut"). 'y' will put the given character into the buffer without deleting it ("copy"), and 'p' will paste it to the actual position of the cursor. If you wish to put more than one character into the buffer (e.g. copying or moving an entire word), then just type the number of characters before 'x' or 'y'. For instance '5x' will delete five characters, and put them into the buffer. Finally, 'dd' will delete you a line, and put it into the buffer. If you get lost, just don't panic...
By pressing ':', you get to the last-line mode. Pressing 'vi' will start a new file ("new document"), 'vi <file_name>' opens the mentioned file. Typing 'w' will save (write) our file, while typing 'w <file_name>' saves as (under) the given name.
Leaving this sadistic editor is possible by typing 'q' (quit), 'q!' (quit, even if not saved) or by 'wq' (save and quit).
The remaining beauty of vi (like different variations of the mentioned commands, further commands, searching, using the 36 buffers, etc.) are left for those of you who have some masochistic inclinations...
(Remark: the version of this description under the site of the
practicum may be more up-to-date.)
Intro to pico
Therefore let's rather try out another editor. This is 'pico', the text editor of the emailing program called 'pine'. Just run 'pico <file_name>' (or simply 'pico' if you wish to start a new file, and to give a name to it only at the end), and enjoy! (Compared to vi...)
(By the way: both in the case of vi and of pico, the file name given when launching the program should not necessarily exist before hand. If it already exists then you can continue editing it, while if it doesn't, then the file will be created as an empty document.)
In pico you always have the list of commands in the last lines of your screen. ^ stands for the CTRL-button. Thus you can ask for help with ^G (CTRL + g), cut a line with ^K (paste it at the same place or to another place with ^U), etc. You can insert the content of another file to the actual position of the cursor with ^R, search for a string of characters (e.g. a word) in your longer file with ^W, etc. With ^Y and ^V you can jump one page backwards or forwards. ^T will even check your English spelling... (I wouldn't trust it too much,...) When you are done, ^O saves your file, and ^X exits. If exiting without having saved it, you are asked if you want to save your file. Finally, ^C is the universal escape-combination.
Is it too much information? Don't worry, the only thing to remember
is allways to check the last lines of the screen.
Intro to pine
Once you are familiarized with pico, just type pine, and you have entered an emailing program. The logic is exactly the same, just always check the menu: on the front page you have your main menu (typing 'M' will bring back to this), otherwise you have the menu on the bottom of the screen. (You usually don't need to type the CTRL button, in this case you don't have the ^ symbol in your menu.)
From the main menu just type L to get into your folder list. Then it is up to you to create new folders (with 'A') or to delete them. Then you have your emails within your folders, that you can delete (D), undelete (U), save to another folder (S) or export to a file (E), forward them (F), reply to them (R), etc. Note the option O that will list you another dozen of commands.
The only way to really learn it is just by playing with it!