Basic bash commands for beginners on Linux

The bash is a fast and powerful environment in linux, but unfortunately not easily understood by novice users. If you start learning linux, read and assimilate these basic commands carefully to avoid losing and corrupting your data.

Name bash derived from the expression Bourne-again shell. This is a pun based on the name of Bourne (sh), an old but important shell of Unix written by Stephen Bourne around 1978, and in the classic sense of rebirth (born again). The Bash created in 1987 by Brian Fox.

On linux In today's versions, the user now has a graphical interface with windows and commands that are given with the click of an icon. Something like the Windows environment. But there are times when the program needs to be opened terminal and start typing. That is, to write whatever his computer wants him to do. The real user of linux should know how to handle it terminal and his orders bash.

Let's go see his basic commands bash of linux.


It comes from the Change Directory and is used to go to a specific point on the disk. Compose by typing first cd and then the path to a directory. This path should be complete, ie it should show all the folders that you have to go through until you reach the desired location. The folders are separated by a right vertical hyphen (/). For folder names that contain spaces, you can either enclose the entire path in quotation marks or add a left vertical hyphen (\) before the space.

cd path / where / you want / to / go

All routes are meant from your current to-do list. To specify a path that is not in a subfolder in the current worksheet, you must either navigate to the original folder of that path or use a fully written path. Such a "full address" of a file on your system starts with the root unit (denoted by /) and ends with the directory or destination file.

The cd command in bash uses some abbreviations for quick directory navigation. For example, the right vertical dash (/) indicates the "root" directory, which is the boot unit of your system. The tilde symbol (~) indicates the home directory of the current user. A dot (.) Indicates the current folder and two dots (..) indicate the parent folder of the current worksheet. The parent folder is a folder before the one you are at all times.

The left vertical hyphen (\) is very special. It is called "escape character" and indicates that everything after it should be handled specifically. In this case, it indicates that the space is part of the file path and not a space between two different commands.

Use the ls command in bash to view the contents of a directory. The name comes out of the list. The command shows all the files and directories in the current directory. Its most useful functions are accessible through "flags", which are short additional commands that are attached to the main command to change the results or extend the functionality. Flags are written with one or two dashes (-) at the beginning, usually followed by a letter.

E.g. ls

There are a number of really useful flags for ls. The ones you will usually need are:

-a shows hidden files and dotfiles (folders symbolized as dots)
-h displays file sizes with human-readable units
-S sorts by file size, larger first (make sure S is uppercase)
-t sorts according to the modification time, the newest first

If you want to use multiple flags, just place them all together. For example, if you want to see hidden files in a folder, each file placed in a row, with human-readable file sizes, you could run ls -lah.

The pwd command shows the full path of the folder you are in at any given time. The name is an acronym for Present Working Directory.

e.g. pwd

Whatever order you give will be executed automatically in the present directory that you are in at any time. For example, the command mkdir (make directory = create a folder) will create a new folder in your current work directory. To make the command run elsewhere, you must use a complete path, which starts with / to indicate the root directory of the system.

Displays the help page (manual page) for a specified command. For example, man chmod will display the man page for the "chmod" command in your terminal window. These pages display usage information, banner definitions, and examples. If you want to know more about what a command does or what options are available, always start by reading the command man page.

A fairly comprehensive version of the help, for each command, you can get if you type the command followed by two dashes and the word help. Example chmod –help.

The cat command in bash is a general reader for any file type. Run it in a text file to display the contents of the file. Cat will show you the contents of almost any file, but the result may not always be easy for humans to read or make sense to you. Therefore, it is rarely used by them Unix professionals, but beginners will find it useful, as they will stumble around unknown files.



Creates a copy of a file in another location with a different name. That is, the file "name.doc" is copied to "path / for / the / new / location / new-name.doc". You can consider it as copying and pasting (Copy - Paste). If the new file name already exists, the copy operation will not be completed.

e.g. cp foo.doc /root/home/newfoo.doc

The mv (move) command moves a file to a new location with a different name. You can think of this command as crop and paste. We also use mv to rename files, since we can "transfer" them to the same place with a new name. Note that the mv command deletes the original version of the file after the write process is complete.

e.g. mv foo.txt /root/home/bar.txt (delete foo.txt and copy it to the / root / home folder with the new name bar.txt)

Removes the contents of the directory and all the files contained in it. The name rm comes from remove. The -r flag causes the rm command to delete folders and is usually accompanied by the -f flag which executes the command by skipping each confirmation dialog. The most powerful version of this command is sudo rm -rf and should be used with extreme caution. It can delete the boot unit without any warning.

e.g. rm -rf / root / home / dimitris / (deletes the dimitris folder and the subfolders in / root / home / dimitris)

The touch command in bash changes the date and time of modification of a file to the current time. If the file with the specified name exists, its modification time will change to the current time. If the file does not exist, an empty file with the same name will be created immediately.

e.g. touch iguru.txt

Creates a directory with the specified name in the location you are in (MaKeDIRectory). To create a directory in another location, along with all the parent directories you want, use the -p flag. This will create all the parent directories you need to fulfill your command, allowing you to create a multi-level directory hierarchy on a single line.

e.g. mkdir directory

Removes the directory in the specified path (ReMoveDIRectory).

e.g. rmdir directory

Modifiers customize existing commands to force them to do more things or do things differently than normal.

The sudo command means "super user do", and does nothing by itself. Instead, it gives the following command administrator privileges. When you type sudo before a command, you temporarily elevate yourself to have the root user's permission, giving you the power to do things you would not normally do.

But with super-potential comes responsibility. It also gives you the power to spoil your operating system very badly, so be careful while you learn. Make sure you fully understand every part of the command you are running, especially if you found the command online.

If you use the sudo command, you will also need to enter the administrator password.

e.g. sudo !!

The above command asks for the last command to be executed again, but this time with root administrator privileges. The “bang bang” command (!!) is the shortcut to repeat the previous command.

It is called "redirect". The right arrow sends the output of a command to a file. this output should be plain text. For example, ls> filelist.txt will send the output from the ls command to the "filelist.txt" file. If this file does not exist, it will be created.

It is called "pipe". This symbol is like a redirect but only for commands. Sends the output of one command to the input of another.


Permissions affect which users can view, edit, and execute specific files. Files and folders have an owner, who is usually the user who created it, and modes, which control the users who access the file and what they can do with it.

These commands are the first commands you will use to use sudo. Remember that sudo makes you superuser, giving you temporary administrator privileges. This is usually necessary when dealing with file permissions, as not all files are likely to belong to the current user.

The chmod command in bash means "change modes" and regulates the permissions on files and folders. Like the chown (permissions for a specific user), can be executed in a single file or if you put the -R flag to be executed in all the contents of a directory.

e.g. sudo chmod 775 file

File permissions can be represented in several ways, but the "numeric function" used above (775) is the most common.

e.g. sudo chown -R mitsos foo / bar

Change the owner of each file in the given directory, and set the user as "mitsos". You can run this command for the current worksheet using the period (.) In place of foo / bar.

In conclusion
To quickly learn these commands, use it bash by terminal of linux, even when you do not need it. Instead of using drag-and-drop to move a directory, try using the mv command. The more you really use these commands, the faster your skills will improve.

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