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Seth Noble

Seth Noble
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Jan2011Reformatted
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Feb1997Original Article

Common Commands

One of the more frequent complaints I have heard from new UNIX users is that they don't have any way to know what commands are available to them.  If you paid attention to the last chapter, you now know that the manual pages list all user commands in section 1 and that you can search for keywords using "man -k keyword".

There are a lot of commands there and not all of them are terribly useful. Sun systems offer a comprehensive list of common UNIX commands, but it can run from 500 to 2500 lines long and contains many commands you may never use.

Following is an edited and greatly reduced version of the SunOS 4.1.3_U1 command list.  I strongly recommend that all UNIX users read through this.  You never know what useful utilities you might find, espescially if you plan on writting shell scripts.


LIST OF COMMON COMMANDS

Name

Manual Page

Description

aliascsh(1) Create an alias for a command sequence, see csh(1)
aproposapropos(1) locate commands by keyword lookup
bannerbanner(1V) display a string in large letters
bcbc(1) arbitrary-precision arithmetic language
bgcsh(1) Run a suspended job in the background, see csh(1)
calcal(1) display a calendar
cancellp(1) send/cancel requests to a printer
catcat(1V) concatenate and display
cccc(1V) C compiler
cdcd(1) change working directory
chgrpchgrp(1) change the group ownership of a file
chmodchmod(1V) change the permissions mode of a file
chshpasswd(1) change local or NIS password information
clearclear(1) clear the terminal screen
compresscompress(1) compress or expand files
cpcp(1) copy files
crontabcrontab(1) install, edit, remove or list a user's crontab file
cshcsh(1) shell with a C-like syntax and advanced interactive features
datedate(1V) display or set the date
dbxdbx(1) source-level debugger
dfdf(1V) report free disk space on file systems
diffdiff(1) display line-by-line differences between pairs of text files
dircmpdircmp(1V) compare directories
dirscsh(1) Display the directory stack, see csh(1)
dos2unixdos2unix(1) convert text file from DOS format to ISO format
dudu(1V) display the number of disk blocks used per directory or file
echoecho(1V) echo arguments to the standard output
egrepgrep(1V) search a file for a string or regular expression
ejecteject(1) eject media device from drive
execcsh(1) Execute a command in place of the current shell, see csh(1)
exitcsh(1) Exit the current shell, see csh(1)
fdformatfdformat(1) format diskettes
fgcsh(1) Resume executing a suspended job in the foreground, see csh(1)
fgrepgrep(1V) search a file for a string or regular expression
filefile(1) determine the type of a file by examining its contents
findfind(1) find files by name, or by other characteristics
fingerfinger(1) display information about users
fromfrom(1) display the sender and date of newly-arrived mail messages
ftpftp(1C) file transfer program
grepgrep(1V) search a file for a string or regular expression
groupsgroups(1) display a user's group memberships
headhead(1) display first few lines of specified files
historycsh(1) Display recently typed commands, see csh(1)
hostidhostid(1) print the numeric identifier of the current host
hostnamehostname(1) set or print name of current host system
idid(1V) print the user name and ID, and group name and ID
jobscsh(1) List jobs suspended or backgrounded from this shell, see csh(1)
killkill(1) send a signal to a process, or terminate a process
lastlast(1) indicate last logins by user or terminal
limitcsh(1) Set or display resource limits, see csh(1)
lineline(1) read one line
lintlint(1V) a C program verifier
lnln(1V) make hard or symbolic links to files
loginlogin(1) log in to the system
lognamelogname(1) get the name by which you logged in
logoutcsh(1) Terminate a login shell, see csh(1)
lplp(1) send/cancel requests to a printer
lpqlpq(1) display the queue of printer jobs
lprlpr(1) send a job to the printer
lprmlprm(1) remove jobs from the printer queue
lpstatlpstat(1) display the printer status information
lsls(1V) list the contents of a directory
machmach(1) display the processor type of the current host
manman(1) display reference manual pages
mesgmesg(1) permit or deny messages on the terminal
mkdirmkdir(1) make a directory
moremore(1) browse or page through a text file
mvmv(1) move or rename files
newgrpnewgrp(1) log in to a new group
nicenice(1) run a command at low priority
passwdpasswd(1) change local or password information
popdcsh(1) Pop the directory stack, see csh(1)
printenvprintenv(1) display environment variables currently set
psps(1) display the status of current processes
pushdcsh(1) Push a directory onto the directory stack, see csh(1)
pwdpwd(1) display the pathname of the current working directory
quotaquota(1) display a user's disk quota and usage
rehashcsh(1) Rescan the execution path, see csh(1)
resettset(1) establish or restore terminal characteristics
rloginrlogin(1C) remote login
rmrm(1) remove (unlink) files or directories
rmdirrm(1) remove (unlink) files or directories
rshrsh(1C) remote shell
ruprup(1C) show host status of local machines (RPC version)
ruptimeruptime(1C) show host status of local machines
rusersrusers(1C) who's logged in on local machines (RPC version)
rwallrwall(1C) write to all users over a network
rwhorwho(1C) who's logged in on local machines
scriptscript(1) make typescript of a terminal session
setenvcsh(1) Set or display environment variables, see csh(1)
setcsh(1) Set or display shell variables, see csh(1)
shsh(1) standard UNIX system shell and command-level language
sleepsleep(1) suspend execution for a specified interval
sortsort(1V) sort and collate lines
sourcecsh(1) Read commands from a file, see csh(1)
spellspell(1) report spelling errors
spellinspell(1) report spelling errors
stringsstrings(1) find printable strings in an object file or binary
stripstrip(1) remove symbols and relocation bits from an object file
sttystty(1V) set or alter the options for a terminal
susu(1V) super-user, temporarily switch to a new user ID
suspendcsh(1) Suspend the shell, see csh(1)
syncsync(1) update the super block; force changed blocks to the disk
tailtail(1) display the last part of a file
talktalk(1) talk to another user
tartar(1) create tape archives, and add or extract files
telnettelnet(1C) user interface to a remote system using the TELNET protocol
timetime(1V) time a command
touchtouch(1V) update the access and modification times of a file
tracetrace(1) trace system calls and signals
tsettset(1) establish or restore terminal characteristics
ttytty(1) display the name of the terminal
umaskcsh(1) Set or display the file permissions mask, see csh(1)
unaliascsh(1) Discard an alias, see csh(1)
uncompresscompress(1) compress or expand files, display expanded contents
unix2dosunix2dos(1) convert text file from ISO format to DOS format
unlimitcsh(1) Remove a limit on a resource, see csh(1)
unsetcsh(1) Discard a shell variable, see csh(1)
unsetenvcsh(1) Discard an envrionment variable, see csh(1)
uptimeuptime(1) show how long the system has been up
usersusers(1) display a compact list of users logged in
uudecodeuuencode(1C) encode a binary file, or decode its ASCII representation
uuencodeuuencode(1C) encode a binary file, or decode its ASCII representation
vacationvacation(1) reply to mail automatically
ww(1) who is logged in, and what are they doing
wallwall(1) write to all users logged in
wcwc(1) display a count of lines, words and characters
whatiswhatis(1) display a one-line summary about a keyword
whereiswhereis(1) locate the binary, source, and manual page for a command
whichwhich(1) locate a command; display its pathname or alias
whowho(1) who is logged in on the system
whoamiwhoami(1) display the effective current username
whoiswhois(1) Internet user name directory service
writewrite(1) write a message to another user

NOTE: This list contains commands common to most standard BSD and SYSV UNIX systems.  Features may vary by vendor, revision, and local installation.  In particular, most systems will have local preferences or alternatives not listed above.