Linux Command List

The Linux command is a software application that comes with the Linux operating system. Commands can be used to complete all simple and complicated operations. On the Linux terminal, the commands are run. The terminal is a command-line interface for interacting with the system, comparable to the Windows command prompt. In Linux, commands are case-sensitive.

Linux provides a powerful command-line interface compared to other operating systems such as Windows and MacOS. Through its terminal, we can perform both basic and complicated tasks. We can perform some fundamental operations such as creating, removing, and moving files. We can also execute complicated jobs including administrative tasks (such as package installation and user administration), networking tasks (such as ssh connections), security tasks, and so forth.

Linux terminal is a user-friendly terminal as it provides various support options. To open the Linux terminal, press “CTRL + ALT + T” keys together, and execute a command by pressing the ‘ENTER‘ key.

In this article, we will discuss the top most Linux commands. These commands are very useful for a beginner and professional both. We have divided these commands into following sections so that you can easily identify their usage:

A  
 &Start a new process in the background
 aliasCreate an alias •
 aproposSearch Help manual pages (man -k)
 aptSearch for and install software packages (Debian/Ubuntu)
 apt-getSearch for and install software packages (Debian/Ubuntu)
 aptitudeSearch for and install software packages (Debian/Ubuntu)
 aspellSpell Checker
 atSchedule a command to run once at a particular time
 awkFind and Replace text, database sort/validate/index
B  
 basenameStrip directory and suffix from filenames
 base32Base32 encode/decode data and print to standard output
 base64Base64 encode/decode data and print to standard output
 bashGNU Bourne-Again SHell
 bcArbitrary precision calculator language
 bgSend to background
 bindSet or display readline key and function bindings •
 breakExit from a loop •
 builtinRun a shell builtin
 bzip2Compress or decompress named file(s)
C  
 calDisplay a calendar
 callerReturn the context of any active subroutine call •
 caseConditionally perform a command
 catConcatenate and print (display) the content of files
 cdChange Directory
 cfdiskPartition table manipulator for Linux
 chattrChange file attributes on a Linux file system
 chgrpChange group ownership
 chmodChange access permissions
 chownChange file owner and group
 chpasswdUpdate passwords in batch mode
 chrootRun a command with a different root directory
 chkconfigSystem services (runlevel)
 cksumPrint CRC checksum and byte counts
 clearClear terminal screen
 cmpCompare two files
 commCompare two sorted files line by line
 commandRun a command – ignoring shell functions •
 continueResume the next iteration of a loop •
 cpCopy one or more files to another location
 cpioCopy files to and from archives
 cronDaemon to execute scheduled commands
 crontabSchedule a command to run at a later time
 csplitSplit a file into context-determined pieces
 curlTransfer data from or to a server
 cutDivide a file into several parts
D  
 dateDisplay or change the date & time
 dcDesk Calculator
 ddData Duplicator – convert and copy a file, write disk headers, boot records
 ddrescueData recovery tool
 declareDeclare variables and give them attributes •
 dfDisplay free disk space
 diffDisplay the differences between two files
 diff3Show differences among three files
 digDNS lookup
 dirBriefly list directory contents
 dircolorsColour setup for ‘ls’
 dirnameConvert a full pathname to just a path
 dirsDisplay list of remembered directories
 dos2unixWindows/MAC to UNIX text file format converter
 dmesgPrint kernel & driver messages
 dpkgPackage manager (Debian/Ubuntu).
 duEstimate file space usage
E  
 echoDisplay message on screen •
 egrepSearch file(s) for lines that match an extended expression
 ejectEject removable media
 enableEnable and disable builtin shell commands •
 envEnvironment variables
 ethtoolEthernet card settings
 evalEvaluate several commands/arguments
 execExecute a command
 exitExit the shell
 expectAutomate arbitrary applications accessed over a terminal
 expandConvert tabs to spaces
 exportSet an environment variable
 exprEvaluate expressions
F  
 falseDo nothing, unsuccessfully
 fdformatLow-level format a floppy disk
 fdiskPartition table manipulator for Linux
 fgSend job to foreground
 fgrepSearch file(s) for lines that match a fixed string
 fileDetermine file type
 findSearch for files that meet a desired criteria
 fmtReformat paragraph text
 foldWrap text to fit a specified width
 forExpand words, and execute commands
 formatFormat disks or tapes
 freeDisplay memory usage
 fsckFile system consistency check and repair
 ftpFile Transfer Protocol
 functionDefine Function Macros
 fuserIdentify/kill the process that is accessing a file
G  
 gawkFind and Replace text within file(s)
 getoptsParse positional parameters
 grepSearch file(s) for lines that match a given pattern
 groupaddAdd a user security group
 groupdelDelete a group
 groupmodModify a group
 groupsPrint group names a user is in
 gzipCompress or decompress named file(s)
H  
 hashRemember the full pathname of a name argument
 headOutput the first part of file(s)
 helpDisplay help for a built-in command •
 historyCommand History
 hostnamePrint or set system name
 htopInteractive process viewer
I  
 iconvConvert the character set of a file
 idPrint user and group id’s
 ifConditionally perform a command
 ifconfigConfigure a network interface
 ifdownStop a network interface
 ifupStart a network interface up
 importCapture an X server screen and save the image to file
 installCopy files and set attributes
 iostatReport CPU and i/o statistics
 ipRouting, devices and tunnels
J  
 jobsList active jobs •
 joinJoin lines on a common field
K  
 killKill a process by specifying its PID
 killallKill processes by name
L  
 lessDisplay output one screen at a time
 letPerform arithmetic on shell variables •
 linkCreate a link to a file
 lnCreate a symbolic link to a file
 localCreate a function variable •
 locateFind files
 lognamePrint current login name
 logoutExit a login shell •
 lookDisplay lines beginning with a given string
 lpcLine printer control program
 lprOff line print
 lprintPrint a file
 lprintdDelete a print job
 lprintqList the print queue
 lprmRemove jobs from the print queue
 lsattrList file attributes on a Linux second extended file system
 lsblkList block devices
 lsList information about file(s)
 lsofList open files
 lspciList all PCI devices
M  
 makeRecompile a group of programs
 manHelp manual
 mapfileRead lines from standard input into an indexed array variable •
 mkdirCreate new folder(s)
 mkfifoMake FIFOs (named pipes)
 mkfileMake a file
 mkisofsCreate a hybrid ISO9660/JOLIET/HFS filesystem
 mknodMake block or character special files
 mktempMake a temporary file
 moreDisplay output one screen at a time
 mostBrowse or page through a text file
 mountMount a file system
 mtoolsManipulate MS-DOS files
 mtrNetwork diagnostics (traceroute/ping)
 mvMove or rename files or directories
 mmvMass Move and rename (files)
N  
 ncNetcat, read and write data across networks
 netstatNetworking connections/stats
 nftnftables for packet filtering and classification
 niceSet the priority of a command or job
 nlNumber lines and write files
 nohupRun a command immune to hangups
 notify-sendSend desktop notifications
 nslookupQuery Internet name servers interactively
O  
 openOpen a file in its default application
 opOperator access
P  
 passwdModify a user password
 pasteMerge lines of files
 pathchkCheck file name portability
 PerfPerformance analysis tools for Linux
 pingTest a network connection
 pgrepList processes by name
 pkillKill processes by name
 popdRestore the previous value of the current directory
 prPrepare files for printing
 printcapPrinter capability database
 printenvPrint environment variables
 printfFormat and print data •
 psProcess status
 pushdSave and then change the current directory
 pvMonitor the progress of data through a pipe
 pwdPrint Working Directory
Q  
 quotaDisplay disk usage and limits
 quotacheckScan a file system for disk usage
R  
 ramram disk device
 rarArchive files with compression
 rcpCopy files between two machines
 readRead a line from standard input •
 readarrayRead from stdin into an array variable •
 readonlyMark variables/functions as readonly
 rebootReboot the system
 renameRename files
 reniceAlter priority of running processes
 remsyncSynchronize remote files via email
 returnExit a shell function
 revReverse lines of a file
 rmRemove files
 rmdirRemove folder(s)
 rsyncRemote file copy (Synchronize file trees)
S  
 screenMultiplex terminal, run remote shells via ssh
 scpSecure copy (remote file copy)
 sdiffMerge two files interactively
 sedStream Editor
 selectAccept user choices via keyboard input
 seqPrint numeric sequences
 setManipulate shell variables and functions
 sftpSecure File Transfer Program
 shiftShift positional parameters
 shoptShell Options
 shufGenerate random permutations
 shutdownShutdown or restart linux
 sleepDelay for a specified time
 slocateFind files
 sortSort text files
 sourceRun commands from a file ‘.’  •
 splitSplit a file into fixed-size pieces
 ssSocket Statistics
 sshSecure Shell client (remote login program)
 statDisplay file or file system status
 straceTrace system calls and signals
 suSubstitute user identity
 sudoExecute a command as another user
 sumPrint a checksum for a file
 suspendSuspend execution of this shell •
 syncSynchronize data on disk with memory
T  
 tailOutput the last part of a file
 tarStore, list or extract files in an archive
 teeRedirect output to multiple files
 testEvaluate a conditional expression
 timeMeasure Program running time
 timeoutRun a command with a time limit
 timesUser and system times
 tmuxTerminal multiplexer
 touchChange file timestamps
 topList processes running on the system
 tputSet terminal-dependent capabilities, color, position
 tracerouteTrace Route to Host
 trapExecute a command when the shell receives a signal •
 trTranslate, squeeze, and/or delete characters
 trueDo nothing, successfully
 tsortTopological sort
 ttyPrint filename of terminal on stdin
 typeDescribe a command •
U  
 ulimitLimit user resources •
 umaskUsers file creation mask
 umountUnmount a device
 unaliasRemove an alias •
 unamePrint system information
 unexpandConvert spaces to tabs
 uniqUniquify files
 unitsConvert units from one scale to another
 unix2dosUNIX to Windows or MAC text file format converter
 unrarExtract files from a rar archive
 unsetRemove variable or function names
 unsharUnpack shell archive scripts
 untilExecute commands (until error)
 uptimeShow uptime
 useraddCreate new user account
 userdelDelete a user account
 usermodModify user account
 usersList users currently logged in
 uuencodeEncode a binary file
 uudecodeDecode a file created by uuencode
V  
 vVerbosely list directory contents (‘ls -l -b’)
 vdirVerbosely list directory contents (‘ls -l -b’)
 viText Editor
 vmstatReport virtual memory statistics
W  
 wShow who is logged on and what they are doing
 waitWait for a process to complete •
 watchExecute/display a program periodically
 wcPrint byte, word, and line counts
 whereisSearch the user’s $path, man pages and source files for a program
 whichSearch the user’s $path for a program file
 whileExecute commands
 whoPrint all usernames currently logged in
 whoamiPrint the current user id and name (‘id -un’)
 wgetRetrieve web pages or files via HTTP, HTTPS or FTP
 writeSend a message to another user
X  
 xargsExecute utility, passing constructed argument list(s)
 xdg-openOpen a file or URL in the user’s preferred application.
 xzCompress or decompress .xz and .lzma files
 yesPrint a string until interrupted
 zipPackage and compress (archive) files
 .Run a command script in the current shell
 !!Run the last command again
 ###Comment / Remark

Conclusion

Basic Linux commands enable users to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. Some of the basic commands may take some time to recall, but nothing is impossible with enough practice.

In the end, knowing and mastering these basic Linux commands will be undoubtedly beneficial for you. Good luck!

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