10 Linux command tutorials for beginners and experts | Opensource.com

10 Linux command tutorials for beginners and experts

Learn how to make Linux do what you need it to do in Opensource.com's top 10 articles about Linux commands from 2019.

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Using Linux well means understanding what commands are available and what they're capable of doing for you. We have covered a lot of them on Opensource.com during 2019, and here are 10 favorites from the bunch.

Using the force at the Linux command line

The Force has a light side and a dark side. Properly understanding that is crucial to true mastery. In his article Using the force at the Linux command line, Alan Formy-Duval explains the -f option (also known as --force) for several popular and sometimes dangerous commands.

Intro to the Linux useradd command

Sharing accounts is a bad idea. Instead, give separate accounts to different people (and even different roles) with the quintessential useradd command. Part of his venerable series on basic Linux administration, Alan Formy-Duval provides an Intro to the Linux useradd command, and, as usual, he explains it in plain English so that both new and experienced admins can understand it.

Linux commands to display your hardware information

What's inside the box? Sometimes it's useful to inspect your hardware without using a screwdriver. In Linux commands to display your hardware information, Howard Fosdick provides both popular and obscure commands to help you dig deep into the computer you're using, the computer you're testing at the store before buying, or the computer you're trying to repair.

How to encrypt files with gocryptfs on Linux

Our files hold lots of private data, from social security numbers to personal letters to loved ones. In How to encrypt files with gocryptfs on Linux, Brian "Bex" Exelbierd explains how to keep private what's meant to be private. As a bonus, he demonstrates encrypting files in a way that has little to no impact on your existing workflow. This isn't a complex PGP-style puzzle of key management and background key agents; this is quick, seamless, and secure file encryption.

How to use advanced rsync for large Linux backups

In the New Year, many people will resolve to be more diligent about making backups. Alan Formy-Duval must have made that resolution years ago, because in How to use advanced rsync for large Linux backups, he displays remarkable familiarity with the file synchronization command. You might not remember all the syntax right away, but the idea is to read and process the options, construct your backup command, and then automate it. That's the smart way to use rsync, and it's the only way to do backups reliably.

Using more to view text files at the Linux command line

In Scott Nesbitt's article Using more to view text files at the Linux command line, the good old default pager more finally gets the spotlight. Many people install and use less, because it's more flexible than more. However, with more and more systems being implemented in the sparsest of containers, the luxury of fancy new tools like less or most sometimes just doesn't exist. Knowing and using more is simple, it's a common default, and it's the production system's debugging tool of last resort.

What you probably didn't know about sudo

The sudo command is famous to a fault. People know the sudo term, and most of us believe we know what it does. And we're a little bit correct, but as Peter Czanik reveals in his article What you probably didn't know about sudo, there's a lot more to the command than just "Simon says." Like that classic childhood game, the sudo command is powerful and also prone to silly mistakes—only with greater potential for horrible consequences. This is one game you do not want to lose!

How to program with Bash: Syntax and tools

If you're a Linux, BSD, or Mac (and lately, Windows) user, you may have used the Bash shell interactively. It's a great shell for quick, one-off commands, which is why so many Linux users love to use it as their primary user interface. However, Bash is much more than just a command prompt. It's also a programming language, and if you're already using Bash commands, then the path to automation has never been more straightforward. Learn all about it in David Both's excellent How to program with Bash: Syntax and tools.

Master the Linux ls command

The ls command is one of those commands that merits a two-letter name; one-letter commands are an optimization for slow terminals where each letter causes a significant delay and also a nice bonus for lazy typists. Seth Kenlon explains how you can Master the Linux ls command and he does so with his usual clarity and pragmatism. Most significantly, in a system where "everything is a file," being able to list the files is crucial.

Getting started with the Linux cat command

The cat command (short for concatenate) is deceptively simple. Whether you use it to quickly see the contents of a file or to pipe the contents to another command, you may not be using cat to its full potential. Alan Formy-Duval's elucidating Getting started with the Linux cat command offers new ideas to take advantage of a command that lets you open a file without feeling like you've opened it. As a bonus, learn all about zcat so you can decompress files without all the trouble of decompression! It's a small and simple thing, but this is what makes Linux great.

Continue the journey

Don't let Opensource.com's 10 best articles about Linux commands of 2019 be the end of your journey. There's much more to discover about Linux and its versatile prompt, so stay tuned in 2020 for more insights. And, if there's a Linux command you want us to know about, please tell us about it in the comments, or share your knowledge with Opensource.com readers by submitting an article about your favorite Linux command.

About the author

Moshe sitting down, head slightly to the side. His t-shirt has Guardians of the Galaxy silhoutes against a background of sound visualization bars.
Moshe Zadka - Moshe has been involved in the Linux community since 1998, helping in Linux "installation parties". He has been programming Python since 1999, and has contributed to the core Python interpreter. Moshe has been a DevOps/SRE since before those terms existed, caring deeply about software reliability, build reproducibility and other such things. He has worked in companies as small as three people and as big as tens of thousands -- usually some place around where software meets system administration...