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Linux Commands

Last Updated : 12 Mar, 2024
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Linux is an operating system that is similar to Unix. In Linux, all commands are executed in a terminal that is provided by the system. This terminal is similar to the command prompt in Windows. It’s important to note that Linux/Unix commands are case-sensitive. A Linux command can be a program or a set of instructions that are entered by the user in the terminal interface to execute various operations on the Linux Operating System. These commands are an effective way to interact with the Linux Operating System and provide a wide range of features, such as managing files and directories, networking, process management, and user administration.

Today, the Linux kernel and other operating systems that are similar to Unix share well over 100 Unix commands. For experienced users, Linux Commands will be highly Customized and offer advanced functionality. All the Linux/Unix commands are run in the terminal provided by the Linux system.

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Commands Description
access Used to check whether the calling program has access to a specified file. It can be used to check whether a file exists or not
accton Used to turn on or turn off the process for accounting or change info process accounting file
aclocal Used to automatically generate aclocal.m4 files from file
acpi Used to display the battery status and other ACPI information
acpi_available Tests whether ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) subsystem is available or not
acpid It provides intelligent power management on a system and is used to notify the user-space programs about the ACPI events
addr2line Used to convert addresses into file names and line numbers
agetty It is a Linux version of getty, which is a Unix program running on a host computer that manages physical or virtual terminals to allow multi-user access
alias Instructs the shell to replace one string with another string while executing the commands
amixer It is a command-line mixer for ALSA(Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) sound-card driver
aplay It is a command-line audio player for ALSA(Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) sound card drivers.
aplaymidi Used to play standard MIDI(Musical Instrument Digital Interface) files, by sending the content of a MIDI file to an ALSA(Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) MIDI port
apropos It helps the user when they don’t remember the exact command but knows a few keywords related to the command that define its uses or functionality
apt Provides a high-level CLI (Command Line Interface) for the package management system and is intended as an interface for the end user which enables some options better suited for interactive usage by default compared to more specialized APT tools like apt-cache and apt-get
apt-get It is a command-line tool which helps in handling packages in Linux
aptitude Opens up a highly built-in interface to interact with the package manager of the machine
ar Used to create, modify and extract the files from the archives
arch Used to print the computer architecture
arp It manipulates the System’s ARP cache. It also allows a complete dump of the ARP cache
aspell Used as a spell checker in Linux
atd It is a job scheduler daemon that runs jobs scheduled for later execution
atrm Used to remove the specified jobs. To remove a job, its job number is passed in the command
atq It displays the list of pending jobs which are scheduled by the user
autoconf Used in Linux to generate configuration scripts
autoheader Used to create a template file of C “#define” or any other template header for configure to use
automake Used for automatically generating files compliant with the set GNU Coding Standards
autoreconf Used to create automatically buildable source code for Unix-like systems
autoupdate Used to update file in our Linux system to a newer Autoconf.
awk It is a scripting language used for manipulating data and generating reports
banner Used to print the ASCII character string in large letter to standard output
basename It strips directory information and suffixes from file names i.e. it prints the file name NAME with any leading directory components removed
batch Used to read commands from standard input or a specified file and execute them when system load levels permit i.e. when the load average drops below 1.5
bc Used for command line calculator
bg Used to place foreground jobs in background
biff A mail notification system for unix that notifies the user at the command line when new mail arrives and tells from whom it is
bind Used to set Readline key bindings and variables
bison It is basically a parser generator similar to yacc
break Used to terminate the execution of for loop, while loop and until loop
builtin Used to run a shell builtin, passing it arguments(args), and also to get the exit status
bzcmp Used to invoke the cmp utility on bzip2 compressed files
bzdiff Used to compare the bzip2 compressed files
bzgrep Used to search for a pattern or an expression but inside a bzip2-compressed file
bzip2 Used to compress and decompress the files
bzless It does not have to read the entire input file before starting, so with a large file, it starts up faster
bzmore Used as a filter for CRT viewing of bzip2 compressed files, which are saved with .bz2 suffix
cal Used to see the calendar of a specific month or a whole year. By default, it shows current month’s calendar as output
case It is the best alternative when we had to use multiple if/elif on a single variable
cat Reads data from file and gives their content as output. It helps us to create, view, concatenate files
cc It is used to compile the C language codes and create executables
ccrypt It is a command line tool for encryption and decryption of data
cd Known as change directory command. It is used to change current working directory
cfdisk It displays or manipulates the disk partition table by providing a text-based “graphical” interface
chage Used to view and change the user password expiry information
chattr It is a file system command which is used for changing the attributes of a file in a directory
chfn It allows you to change a user’s name and other details easily. chfn stands for Change finger
chgrp Used to change the group ownership of a file or directory
chkconfig Used to list all available services and view or update their run level settings
chmod Used to change the access mode of a file
chown Used to change the file Owner or group
chpasswd Used to change password for multiple users at a time
chroot Used to change the root directory
chrt Used for manipulating the real-time attributes of a process
chsh Used to change the user’s login shell(currently login shell)
chvt Used to switch between the different TTY (TeleTYpewriter) terminals available
cksum Used to display a CRC(Cyclic Redundancy Check) value, the byte size of the file and the name of the file to standard output
clear Used to clear the terminal screen
cmp Used to compare the two files byte by byte and helps you to find out whether the two files are identical or not
col It is used to filter out reverse line feeds. The col utility simply reads from the standard input and writes to standard output
colcrt Used to format the text processor output so that it can be viewed on Cathode Ray Tube displays
colrm Removes selected columns from a file
column Used to display the contents of a file in columns
comm Compares two sorted files line by line and write to standard output; the lines that are common and the lines that are unique
compress Used to reduce the file size. After compression, the file will be available with an added .Z extension
continue Used to skip the current iteration in for, while and until loop
cp Used to copy files or group of files or directory
cpio cpio stands for “copy in, copy out“. It is used for processing the archive files like *.cpio or *.tar. This command can copy files to and from archives
cpp It is automatically used by C compiler to transform your program before compilation
cron A software utility, offered by Linux-like operating system which automates the scheduled task at a predetermined time
crontab A list of commands that you want to run on a regular schedule, and also the name of the command used to manage that list
csplit Used to split any file into many parts as required by the user
ctags It allows quick access across the files (For example quickly seeing definition of a function)
cupsd It is a type of scheduler for CUPS (Common Unit Printing System). It implements the printing system on the basis of the Internet Printing Protocol
curl A tool to transfer data to or from a server, using any of the supported protocols
cut For cutting out the sections from each line of files and writing the result to standard output
cvs Used to store the history of a file. Whenever a file gets corrupted or anything goes wrong “cvs” help us to go back to the previous version and restore our file
date Used to display the system date and time. It is also used to set date and time of the system
dc Used to evaluate arithmetic expressions. It evaluates expressions in the form of a postfix expression
dd It is a command-line utility for Unix and Unix-like operating systems whose primary purpose is to convert and copy files
declare Used to declare shell variables and functions, set their attributes and display their values
depmod Used to generate a list of dependency description of kernel modules and its associated map files
df Used to display information related to file systems about total space and available space
diff Used to display the differences in the files by comparing the files line by line
diff3 Used to compare the three files line by line
dir Used to list the contents of a directory
dirname Used to remove the trailing forward slahes “/” from the NAME and prints the remaining portion
dirs Used to display the list of currently remembered directories
disable Used to stop the printers or classes
dmesg Used to examine the kernel ring buffer and print the message buffer of kernel
dmidecode Used when the user wants to retrieve system’s hardware related information such as Processor, RAM(DIMMs), BIOS detail, etc. of Linux system in a readable format
domainname Used to return the Network Information System (NIS) domain name of the host
dos2unix Converts a DOS text file to UNIX format
dosfsck Diagnoses MS-DOS file system for problems and attempts to repair them
dstat Used to retrieve information or statistics form components of the system such as network connections, IO devices, or CPU, etc.
du Used to track the files and directories which are consuming excessive amount of space on hard disk drive
dump Used to backup the filesystem to some storage device
dumpe2fs Used to print the super block and blocks group information for the filesystem present on device
dumpkeys Used for the dump keyboard translation tables
echo Used to display line of text/string that are passed as an argument
ed Used for launching the ed text editor which is a line-based text editor with a minimal interface which makes it less complex for working on text files i.e creating, editing, displaying and manipulating files
egrep It treats the pattern as an extended regular expression and prints out the lines that match the pattern
eject It allows ejecting a removable media (typically a CD-ROM, floppy disk, tape, or JAZ or ZIP disk) using the software
emacs It is a editor having simple user interface. Also, there is no insert mode in this editor. It only have editing mode.
enable Used to start the printers or classes
env Used to either print environment variables. It is also used to run a utility or command in a custom environment
eval Built-in command used to execute arguments as a shell command
ex It is a text editor in Linux which is also termed as the line editor mode of the vi editor
exec Used to execute a command from the bash itself
exit Used to exit the shell where it is currently running
expand Allows you to convert tabs into spaces in a file and when no file is specified it reads from standard input
expect This command or scripting language works with scripts that expect user inputs. It automates the task by providing inputs
export It is bash shell BUILTINS commands, which means it is part of the shell. It marks an environment variables to be exported to child-processes
expr It evaluates a given expression and displays its corresponding output
factor Used to print the prime factors of the given numbers, either given from command line or read from standard input
fc Used to list, edit or re-execute the commands previously entered into an interactive shell
fc-cache It scans the font directories and build font cache for applications which use fontconfig for their font handling
fc-list It is used to list the available fonts and font styles. Using the format option, the list of all fonts can be filtered and sorted out
fdisk Format disk is a dialog-driven command in Linux used for creating and manipulating disk partition table
fg Used to put a background job in foreground
fgrep Used to search for the fixed-character strings in a file
file Used to determine the type of a file. .file type may be of human-readable(e.g. ‘ASCII text’) or MIME type(e.g. ‘text/plain; charset=us-ascii’)
find Used to find files and directories and perform subsequent operations on them
finger It is a user information lookup command which gives details of all the users logged in.
fmt Works as a formatter for simplifying and optimizing text files
fold It wraps each line in an input file to fit a specified width and prints it to the standard output
for Used to repeatedly execute a set of command for every element present in the list
free Displays the total amount of free space available along with the amount of memory used and swap memory in the system, and also the buffers used by the kernel
Fun Used to draw various type of patterns on the terminal
function Used to create functions or methods
g++ Used for preprocessing, compilation, assembly and linking of source code to generate an executable file
gawk Used for pattern scanning and processing language
gcc GNU Compiler Collections is used to compile mainly C and C++ language. It can also be used to compile Objective C and Objective C++
gdb GNU Debugger tool helps to debug the programs written in C, C++, Ada, Fortran, etc.
getent Used to get the entries in a number of important text files called databases
gpasswd Used to administer the /etc/group and /etc/gshadow
grep Searches a file for a particular pattern of characters, and displays all lines that contain that pattern
groupadd Used to create a new user group
groupdel Used to delete a existing group
groupmod Used to modify or change the existing group on Linux system
groups Groups are the collection of users. Groups make it easy to manage users with the same security and access privileges
grpck It verifies the integrity of the groups information. It checks that all entries in /etc/group and /etc/gshadow have the proper format and contain valid data
grpconv It is used to convert to shadow groups. The grpconv command creates a gshadow from the group and an optionally existing gshadow
gs This command invokes Ghostscript, which is an interpreter of Adobe Systems PostScript and Portable Document Format(PDF) languages
gunzip Used to compress or expand a file or a list of files in Linux
gzexe Used to compress executable files and also used to automatically uncompress and execute the files
gzip This command compresses files. Each single file is compressed into a single file.
halt Used to instruct the hardware to stop all the CPU functions. Basically, it reboots or stops the system.
hash Used to maintain a hash table of recently executed programs
hdparm Used to get statistics about the hard disk, alter writing intervals, acoustic management, and DMA settings
Head Prints the top N number of data of the given input
help Displays information about shell built-in commands
hexdump Used to filter and display the specified files, or standard input in a human readable specified format
history Used to view the previously executed command
host Used for DNS (Domain Name System) lookup operations
hostid Used to displays the Host’s ID in hexadecimal format
hostname Used to obtain the DNS(Domain Name System) name and set the system’s hostname or NIS(Network Information System) domain name.
hostnamectl Provides a proper API used to control Linux system hostname and change its related settings
htop It is a command line utility that allows the user to interactively monitor the system’s vital resources or server’s processes in real time
hwclock Utility for accessing the hardware clock, also called Real Time Clock (RTC)
iconv Used to convert some text in one encoding into another encoding
id Used to find out user and group names and numeric ID’s (UID or group ID) of the current user or any other user in the server
if Used to execute commands based on conditions
ifconfig Used to configure the kernel-resident network interfaces.
iftop It is a network analyzing tool used by system administrators to view the bandwidth related stats
ifup It basically brings the network interface up, allowing it to transmit and receive data
import Used for capturing a screenshot for any of the active pages we have and it gives the output as an image file
info Reads documentation in the info format. It will give detailed information for a command when compared with the main page
insmod Used to insert modules into the kernel
install Used to copy files and set attributes
iostat Used for monitoring system input/output statistics for devices and partitions
iotop Used to display and monitor the disk IO usage details and even gets a table of existing IO utilization by the process
ip Used for performing several network administration tasks
ipcrm Used to remove some IPC(Inter-Process Communication) resources. It eliminates the IPC objects and their associated data structure form the system
ipcs Shows information on the inter-process communication facilities for which the calling process has read access
iptables Used to set up and maintain tables for the Netfilter firewall for IPv4, included in the Linux kernel
iptables-save It will save the current iptables rules in a user specified file, that can be used later when the user wants
iwconfig Used to display the parameters, and the wireless statistics which are extracted from /proc/net/wireless
join It is a command line utility for joining lines of two files based on a key field present in both the files
journalctl Used to view systemd, kernel and journal logs
kill Used to terminate processes manually. kill command sends a signal to a process which terminates the process
last Used to display the list of all the users logged in and out since the file /var/log/wtmp was created
less Used to read contents of text file one page(one screen) per time
let Used to evaluate arithmetic expressions on shell variables
ln Used to create links between files
locate Used to find the files by name
look Shows the lines beginning with a given string
lsblk Used to display details about block devices and these block devices(Except ram disk) are basically those files that represent devices connected to the pc.
lshw Used to generate the detailed information of the system’s hardware configuration from various files in the /proc directory
lsmod Used to display the status of modules in the Linux kernel. It results in a list of loaded modules
lsof Provides a list of files that are opened
lsusb Used to display the information about USB buses and the devices connected to them
mailq This command in Linux prints the mail queue i.e the list of messages that are there in the mail queue
man Used to display the user manual of any command that we can run on the terminal
md5sum To verify data integrity using MD5 (Message Digest Algorithm 5)
mkdir Allows the user to create directories. This command can create multiple directories at once
modinfo Used to display the information about a Linux Kernel module
more Used to view the text files in the command prompt, displaying one screen at a time in case the file is large (For example log files)
mount Used to mount the filesystem found on a device to big tree structure(Linux filesystem) rooted at ‘/‘
mpstat Used to report processor related statistics.
mv Used to move one or more files or directories from one place to another in file system like UNIX
nc(netcat) It is one of the powerful networking tool, security tool or network monitoring tool.
netstat Displays various network related information such as network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, masquerade connections, multicast memberships, etc.
nmcli Used for controlling NetworkManager. nmcli command can also be used to display network device status, create, edit, activate/deactivate, and delete network connections
nslookup It is a network administration tool for querying the Domain Name System (DNS) to obtain domain name or IP address mapping or any other specific DNS record
od Used to convert the content of input in different formats with octal format as the default format
passwd Used to change the user account passwords
paste Used to join files horizontally (parallel merging) by outputting lines consisting of lines from each file specified, separated by tab as delimiter, to the standard output
pidof Used to find out the process IDs of a specific running program
ping Used to check the network connectivity between host and server/host
pinky It is a user information lookup command which gives details of all the users logged in. Unlike finger, in the pinky, you may trim the information of your interest.
pmap Used to display the memory map of a process. A memory map indicates how memory is spread out
poweroff Sends an ACPI signal which instructs the system to power down
printf Used to display the given string, number or any other format specifier on the terminal window
ps Used to list the currently running processes and their PIDs along with some other information depends on different options
pwd It prints the path of the working directory, starting from the root
ranlib Used to generate index to archive
rcp Used to copy files from one computer to another computer
read Reads up the total number of bytes from the specified file descriptor into the buffer
readelf Used to get information of ELF(Executable and Linkable Format) Files
readlink Used to print resolved symbolic links or canonical file names
reboot Instructs the system to restart or reboot
rename Used to rename the named files according to the regular expression perlexpr
reset Used to initialize the terminal. This is useful once a program dies leaving a terminal in an abnormal state
restore Used for restoring files from a backup created using dump
return Used to exit from a shell function.
rev Used to reverse the lines characterwise
rm Used to remove objects such as files, directories, symbolic links and so on from the file system like UNIX
rmdir Used to remove empty directories from the filesystem in Linux
rmmod Used to remove a module from the kernel
route Used when you want to work with the IP/kernel routing table
rsync It is a software utility for Unix-Like systems that efficiently sync files and directories between two hosts or machines
sar Used to monitor Linux system’s resources like CPU usage, Memory utilization, I/O devices consumption, etc.
scp Used to copy file(s) between servers in a secure way.
screen Provides the ability to launch and use multiple shell sessions from a single ssh session
script Used to make typescript or record all the terminal activities
scriptreplay Used to replay a typescript/terminal_activity stored in the log file that was recorded by the script command
sdiff Used to compare two files and then writes the results to standard output in a side-by-side format
sed Used for finding, filtering, text substitution, replacement and text manipulations like insertion, deletion search etc.
select Used to create a numbered menu from which a user can select an option
seq Used to generate numbers from FIRST to LAST in steps of INCREMENT
setsid Used to run a program in a new session
shift Shifts/moves the command line arguments to one position left.
showkey prints to standard output either the scan codes or the key code or the `ascii’ code of each key pressed
shred Used in order to delete a file completely from hard disk
shutdown Used to shutdown the system in a safe way
sleep Used to create a dummy job. A dummy job helps in delaying the execution
source Used to read and execute the content of a file(generally set of commands), passed as an argument in the current shell script
sort Used to sort a file, arranging the records in a particular order
split Used to split large files into smaller files
ssh Protocol used to securely connect to a remote server/system
strace It is one of the most powerful process monitoring, diagnostic, instructional tool of Linux.
stty Used to change and print terminal line settings
sudo Used as a prefix of some command that only superuser are allowed to run
sum Used to find checksum and count the blocks in a file
sync Used to synchronize cached writes to persistent storage
systemctl Used to examine and control the state of “systemd” system and service manager
tac Used to concatenate and print files in reverse
Tail Prints the last N number of data of the given input
tar Used to create Archive and extract the Archive files
tee Reads the standard input and writes it to both the standard output and one or more files
time Used to execute a command and prints a summary of real-time, user CPU time and system CPU time spent by executing a command when it terminates
top Provides a dynamic real-time view of the running system
touch Used to create, change and modify timestamps of a file
tr It is a command line utility for translating or deleting characters
tracepath Used to traces path to destination discovering MTU along this path
traceroute Prints the route that a packet takes to reach the host
Tree A recursive directory listing program that produces a depth-indented listing of files
tty It displays the information related to terminal. It basically prints the file name of the terminal connected to standard input
type Used to describe how its argument would be translated if used as commands
uname Displays the information about the system
unexpand Converts each spaces into tabs writing the produced output to the standard output
uniq It is a command line utility that reports or filters out the repeated lines in a file
unix2dos Converts a Unix text file to DOS format
until Used to execute a set of commands as long as the final command in the ‘until’ Commands has an exit status which is not zero
Uptime Used to find out how long the system is active (running)
useradd Used to add user accounts to your system
usermod Used to change the properties of a user in Linux through the command line
username It provides a set of commands to fetch username and its configurations from the Linux host
users Used to show the user names of users currently logged in to the current host
userdel Used to delete a user account and related files
vi It is the default editor that comes with the UNIX operating system is called visual editor.
vmstat It is a performance monitoring command of the system as it gives the information about processes, memory, paging, block IO, disk and CPU scheduling
vnstat Used by system administrators in order to monitor network parameters such as bandwidth consumption or maybe some traffic flowing in or out
w Used to show who is logged on and what they are doing
wall Displays a message, or the contents of a file, or otherwise its standard input, on the terminals of all currently logged in users
watch Used to execute a program periodically, showing output in fullscreen
wc Used to find out number of lines, word count, byte and characters count in the files specified in the file arguments
Wget Used to download files from the server even when the user has not logged on to the system and it can work in background without hindering the current process
whatis Used to get a one-line manual page descriptions
which Used to locate the executable file associated with the given command by searching it in the path environment variable
while Used to repeatedly execute a set of command as long as the COMMAND returns true
who Used to get information about currently logged in user on to system
whoami Displays the username of the current user when this command is invoked
write Allows a user to communicate with other users, by copying lines from one user’s terminal to others
xargs Used to build and execute commands from standard input. It converts input received from standard input into arguments of a command
xdg-open Used to open a file or URL in the user’s preferred application
yes Used to print a continuous output stream of given STRING. If STRING is not mentioned then it prints ‘y’
zdiff Used to invoke the diff program on files compressed via gzip
zdump Used to print the current time in the specified zone or you can say prints the current time in each zonename named on the command line
zgrep Used to search out expressions from a given a file even if it is compressed
zip It is a compression and file packaging utility for Unix. Each file is stored in single .zip {.zip-filename} file with the extension .zip

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