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Thread: help getting started with cli

  1. #1
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    help getting started with cli

    Hey guys, I'm just getting started with Ubuntu server edition and I want to force myself to use the cli. I'm having some trouble though as I really have no clue as to what I am doing. I know a few basic commands but I can't even tell what's installed on thins machine except to look through the /etc or /bin dir and I don't know what half of that stuff it. Is there anything like the old Xtree program to make navigation a little easier but without all the fluff of a full blown desktop environment. I don't even know if I have IPtables installed. I might install gnome or kde just for convenience once in a while but I really wanna take the masochistic route and torture myself of the cli. I have heard legend of a program called midnight commander, it this good?

  2. #2
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    Re: help getting started with cli


  3. #3
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    Re: help getting started with cli

    Quote Originally Posted by RFXCasey View Post
    I have heard legend of a program called midnight commander, it this good?
    This is OK, if you like that sort of thing, but if you really are into torturing yourself, the cli is the best route, maybe with screen (man screen).

    Don't forget CTRL-ALT-F[1-9] to access additional consoles.

    Ubuntu has loads of really good guides. The best route to learn is to have an idea of what you want to do and run with that first and build upon that.

    Have fun.

  4. #4
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    Re: help getting started with cli

    The most valuable time I might have ever spend for learning
    Unix was reading a 2 volume manual containing all user commands
    from page to page reading the summary for every command.

    These pages are also available on the command line. The
    man pages are divided into different sections, you
    might be most interested in section 1, user commands,
    and section 8, admin commands.

    Read about the sections yourself (press "q" to quit)
    Code:
    man 1 intro
    man 8 intro
    ( Other sections of interest might be 4 and 5)

    Here is a (silly?) command to list all available user commands
    of section 1 starting with an a:

    Code:
    man -k a|grep ^a|grep "(1)"|more
    (
    "man -k a" list all man pages containing an a.
    "grep ^a" only passes on lines starting with an a.
    "grep "(1)" only passes on lines containing (1).
    "more" is a pager to stop scrolling if there are too many lines.
    )

    After that, all you need is some hands-on experience ...

  5. #5
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    Re: help getting started with cli

    Quote Originally Posted by RFXCasey View Post
    I'm having some trouble though as I really have no clue as to what I am doing.
    Ask the system: apropos

    Let's suppose you wanted to do something that has to do with packages ... but you don't know exactly what and how. So you'd ask:
    Code:
    apropos package
    The system will then spit out all commands that it knows that have to do with this topic and give a brief explanation.

    Example:
    Code:
    > apropos package
    
    apt (8)              - Advanced Package Tool
    apt-cache (8)        - APT package handling utility - cache manipulator
    apt-extracttemplates (1) - Utility to extract DebConf config and templates fr...
    apt-get (8)          - APT package handling utility - command-line interface
    apt-mark (8)         - mark/unmark a package as being automatically-installed
    apt-sortpkgs (1)     - Utility to sort package index files
    aptitude (8)         - high-level interface to the package manager
    apturl (8)           - graphical apt-protocol interpreting package installer
    deb (5)              - Debian binary package format
    deb-control (5)      - Debian packages' master control file format
    deb-old (5)          - old style Debian binary package format
    deb-triggers (5)     - package triggers
    deb-version (5)      - Debian package version number format
    ...
    Those numbers in brackets are chapter numbers of the "man" pages. I think someone already explained that.

    So to lookup the exact syntax of a command you'd do e.g.
    Code:
    man 8 apt
    The reason for those chapter numbers is that sometimes there are two commands or libraries that might have the same name but a different meaning. Hence why it might be a good idea to always add the chapter number to make sure you get the correct page.

    Quote Originally Posted by RFXCasey View Post
    I can't even tell what's installed on thins machine
    Code:
    dpkg -l '*' | grep ii | more

  6. #6
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    Re: help getting started with cli

    If you want to learn to use command line apps my advice would be to use dvtm

    It`a a tiling window manager for the shell

    You launch it then press Ctrl+G then C.

    Now you`ve got two windows, you can even switch between them with a mouse.

    Now in one sceen, type man dvtm and have a mess about, managing windows. Once you`re done with that install midnight commander.
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install mc
    launch it in one screen and and create another one (Ctrl+G then C).

    In that one type man mc.

    Now you`re getting used to 2 command line apps and you have both instruction manuals there, right infront of you, while you do it.

    Cool isn`t it.

  7. #7
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    Re: help getting started with cli

    Quote Originally Posted by nothingspecial View Post
    If you want to learn to use command line apps my advice would be to use dvtm

    It`a a tiling window manager for the shell

    You launch it then press Ctrl+G then C.

    Now you`ve got two windows, you can even switch between them with a mouse.

    Now in one sceen, type man dvtm and have a mess about, managing windows. Once you`re done with that install midnight commander.
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install mc
    launch it in one screen and and create another one (Ctrl+G then C).

    In that one type man mc.

    Now you`re getting used to 2 command line apps and you have both instruction manuals there, right infront of you, while you do it.

    Cool isn`t it.
    Um I was able to download dvtm and I can start a single window by typing dvtm at the command prompt but your whole ctrl + g the c thing doesn't do anything for me. What be the issue? The midnight commander rocks. Very Xtree esc.

  8. #8
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    Re: help getting started with cli

    Ctrl G is the escape for dvtm. It tells the shell that the next key you press is an instruction to dvtm and not to be displayed after the prompt.

    Ctrl + G at the same time, then c and you should have two windows side by side both with a prompt.

  9. #9
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    Re: help getting started with cli

    Ah, I see, sorry too much speed reading. I did SSH into my server from putty on my desktop last night which was so kool. Does anyone know how to change the default text color in BASH? I would also like to know if there is an easy way to securely remote to a gnome desktop. Now I need to figure out how to set up some sort of secure FTP like VSFTP and host my website with apache, unless you all can suggest something better to do with my server like run a game server or something. Is it possible to run a Day of Defeat dedicated server on a linux box? Or would I learn more useful things hosting a web site or something else.
    Last edited by RFXCasey; September 16th, 2009 at 04:45 AM.

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