8 Linux Commands That Will Save Your Day

Linux is a free and open source kernel that powers a variety of operating systems for servers, desktops, laptops, netbooks, mobile phones, and many embedded devices. 

If you have your own Linux server, you have probably used SSH to access the command line on at least a few occasions when your web-based control panel simply would not suffice. The following are eight commands you can use in Linux that will save you time, energy, and maybe even money.

1. grep – While you could simply describe grep as a search tool, it is really so much more. You can filter long lists, scour documents for the most obscure detail, and make other commands behave differently according to your specifications.

ls -al | grep make

2. ps – When you need to figure out exactly what is going with your server, ps is invaluable. In its most basic functionality, it lists processes (instances of programs currently running). With a few choice flags, you can view process IDs, memory and CPU usage, command names, and even parent and child processes.

ps aux

3. locate – Lose something? There are more intricate ways to search with “find” or “grep”, but locate searches a pre-loaded database of all of your files, which makes it fast for those quick searches for misplaced files. In order to use it, you need to run updatedb to have the latest files indexed.

locate money.html

4. top – Monitoring your system is critical. The ps command gives you every running process, but top only shows the most hungry of the bunch. If your server is running slowly, top may lead you straight to the culprit. It displays CPU usage, memory usage, system load, and much more.


5. kill – Yes, this is a real command and perhaps your most powerful weapon. When a program is out of control or when an application freezes, kill will become your best friend. Using data from ps and top, you can determine which processes are causing trouble and what their PID (process ID is).

kill 23849killall pythonkill -9 23849

6. who – This is a very simple command with a very important purpose. When you are running a dedicated server, you will most likely have other users connecting to it. Even if you do not, it is a good idea to monitor user accounts in case hackers manage to penetrate your security. The simple who command will tell you which users are logged in and what time their sessions began.

7. history – You will probably repeatedly type the above-mentioned commands and many others as you manage your server. Every time you need to run them again, you could always type them, but if the command you typed was a lengthy string, that can get old very quickly. The history command shows you a list of your previous commands. In a Linux terminal, you can press the up arrow to navigate through the list or type “history” to get the full list. Use the “!” key to quickly execute a command associated with a particular history number.


8. cat – This command gives you a quick way to print the contents of a file on your console screen. It is designed for text-based files, and you can use it in combination with more, less, grep, and other commands to determine how the text is displayed. You can also use the “>” to save the output to another file.

cat testfilecat testfile | grep “important sentence”cat testfile | lesscat /proc/cpuinfo > /home/username/mycpuinfo

These Linux commands are common, and most web hosts, such as Manchester managed server company 34SP.com, provide them as part of their standard Linux server installations. The examples provided just scratch the surface of these powerful commands. To unlock their full potential, you should reference the manuals for each. You can read the manuals online or type “man” followed by the command name from your system shell (example: man grep).

Tavis J. Hampton is a librarian and writer with a decade of experience in information technology, web hosting, and Linux system administration. His freelance services include writing, editing, tech training, and information architecture.

Goosh- the unofficial Google shell

For power users, the shell (or command line interface) is their computer. If you are one such people, then Goosh should be of interest to you. If you have used the Linux command line before, then just picture that, only this time, your queries return a Google result.
It really to me is a great tool to help break the phobia of people with regards to the Linux terminal. It also has the bare bones interface in case you are not so impressed with the increasing pace at which Google is doing away with its Spartan interface. 

Goosh is also “open source under the Artistic License/GPL.” Not being Google directly, I am not so sure that the big G is able to gather your data as it would if you were on their site. If you are a terminal phobic, Goosh is a good place to get a feel of what it is like issue commands: only this time your commands are your search queries.

A comprehensive index of Bash CLI commands for beginners.

In as much as I like to tell newbies and prospective Linux users how similar it is to Windows in terms of GUI usage, there still comes a time when it is very necessary or expedient to use the command line interface otherwise know as the terminal.
This index of terminal commands for Bash or Bourne-Again Shell covers all the commands that you’d ever need to feel comfortable at the shell. If you are a Linux noob or are thinking of starting out with it, you’d do yourself a great favor by looking through this rich index. Hopefully after you finish with it, you would not dread the terminal again.

The Linux terminal – Outliving its relevancy?

A friend of mine recently published a post in which he opined that the Linux terminal not be shown to the uninitiated newbie. His post generated a lot of debate. I for one, agreed with his post and will now go further to say that the Linux terminal or command line interface has outlived its relevancy and needs to be relegated to the backseat.
I strongly believe – and so do most non-geek Linux users- that there was a time when the terminal was a very vital component of Linux: a time when Linux was mainly a hobbyist OS that was used by only geeks, most of whom disliked anything remotely akin to graphics. However, in today’s OS world, Linux is being placed and marketed as an alternative to market leader Windows. This then calls into question certain things that worked in the past but may be a hindrance today, and one of such things is the relevancy of the terminal.
The terminal is a great and easy way to get things done fast in Linux no doubt. But if Linux is competing against giants like MS Windows and Mac OS, both of whom have succeeded in relegating the terminal to the backseat, what then are the chances of Linux if it in some way depends largely on the terminal to get things done?
The people that find the terminal very challenging to use are the majority of computer users that Linux needs to make any headway in the market. I believe you know a lot of people like that. Their needs must seriously be considered if they are ever to think of making the switch over to Linux (that is if it can meet their needs).

I am not saying that the terminal be done away with completely. No, and I know you don’t think so either (it’s not even possible). But rather it should be made such that it is used by those who want to use it and not because it is a necessary part of the OS. In other words, it should be there for the terminal dieharders who want to keep doing things the terminal way, but at the same time very irrelevant to those who love icons and clicking ( myself included).

It is very funny and at the same time frustrating when -and I know you have experienced it before- we tout Ubuntu as being very easy to use,  yet when a newbie sometimes needs to get some things done, the first help instruction given is open the terminal. What?! But I thought they said Ubuntu is easy to use! Well yes just type ‘sudo’ bla bla bla. Come on.

The terminal has simply outlived its relevancy and has to be relegated as soon as possible. It is a big obstacle in the wider adoption of Linux among everyday computer users that just need their machines to do simple things. Why suffer these people with the language of the geeks?

Do you think the terminal is that relevant today or that it should be relegated to the back seat? I wonder what your views are.

The year of Linux – When will it be?

Every year, there is talk of how Linux is poised to take the world by storm, and after close to twenty years of existence, Linux is still waiting for this day. I have always wondered; when is the year of Linux going to be? Most fanatic Linux proponents seem to get some consolation in believing in such a day when Linux will overtake Windows in terms of market share. Well, in as much as I am a Linux proponent, I am not blind to the hard facts on the ground.
Windows is the dominant desktop OS for a reason. Despite its massive flaws, millions of people still cling to it with all their lives. Why? Because Windows was made for such people- the granny, the pregnant woman, the plumber, the guy who just got his first computer- it is to such people that Windows was made. The developers of Linux distros have got to seriously define to which segment of the market they are making their systems. If they are making it for normal people like me and the other one billion people out there, then they seriously have to focus on usability.
I know distros like Ubuntu and Fedora have done alot in terms of usability, but even those distros still have a long way to go. There simply cannot be a year of Linux when the terminal- the very nightmare of a lot of people- still dominates the Linux desktop.
There is never going to be such a  year as the year of Linux until Linux developers come to terms with the fact that they have got to make Linux for normal people. More and more people want an alternative to Windows, that is a fact, but Linux just does not seem to know how to take advantage of such shift in tastes.Until these five simple but very serious hurdles are cleared, I am afraid to say there is not going to be any such year as the year of Linux.


I am an avid fan and faithful user of Ubuntu Linux OS. It is the only OS on my laptop. I personaly do not use MS Windows except at the work place where all the machines are configured with it. I love Linux and the level of security and reliability it gives me. I no longer think of installing all the “antis” that I would have to if I were using MS Windows. No doubt Linux is a great OS platform. But I have my reservations about its ability to take on the Redmond giant or be a viable alternative OS.
The reason is that in my opinion, it is too much of a “geeky” deal. You see, with MS Windows, virtually all the work is done by just pointing and clicking. The average Pc user, who I must admit are the majority, have no time for lots of things that unfortunately Linux requires you to do. 
For instance, if I want an application which is not available in the system repositories, then I would have to Google it. That sounds simple and innocent. But wait a minute, the file I downloaded is in some compressed form where I have to “compile it from sources”. How many home PC users can make sense of that? Or you have a problem with your network and you have to do some “Sudo” this or that to just get things fixed.
Most people are used to just clicking next, next and then finish. Thats it and they have their application installed. Most of the Linux repositories I must admit have vast numbers of applications. But its not always that one finds what he wants and hence to the big G for help.
And then there is the issue of the terminal. Even after using Ubuntu for close to a year, there still are times when I shudder when I have no option than to head to the terminal to get things fixed. The terminal is an integral part of the Linux kernel that is very vital to the system. Unfortunately too, it is the number one thing that drives people away from anything that has to do with Linux. I frankly don’t think people should have to memorize lots of terminal commands just to get basic things like seeing a detailed list of their hardware done. I personally have tried to get some of my friends and colleagues to try Ubuntu, and most of the time they like it initially only to turn away from it completely when it things require the use of the terminal.
You see, I have nothing personal against the use of the terminal, what I wonder however, is whether it can’t just be relegated to the backseat. Where calling on it will always be the last resort. Windows has the command line, but I can’t remember the last time I had to use it when I have a problem on my PC at the work place.
It is very sad to see that Linux has been around for close to 20 solid years but still has less than 1% of the desktop market. I think this alone calls for a rethink in the way that the Linux kernel works. To put is simply, it is just not friendly enough for the average home user who does not care much about the uderlying nitty gritty of the OS. All that lots of people want is to have a PC that works and thats it. When they need something, they just Google it and click next,next and finish. No compiling anything from any sources or “Sudoing” anything. Linux is seen too much as an OS for hobbyists and geeks who just don’t understand why people do not use their creation.
I however have to admit that lots of work has been done to make Linux as friendly to the average user as possible.This is especially true of distros like Ubuntu and Fedora that have made great strides. But there is more work to be done, and I frankly believe that the rise of Linux as a viable OS alternative to Windows will start from the day that it relies less and less on the command line to get things done.
I really love Linux and want to see more and more people use it, but as it things are now, it makes it nigh impossible to effectively evangelize it. I know there are lots of you out there that will disagree with me. But these are just my views and I would very much like to see your comments on what I think.