basic unix commands
There's more to your e-mail account than just reading your mail!
Bracketed information  is used in conjunction with the command -- read
the first command, man for further explanation.
C$ man [-k topic]
Man displays short manual pages for many commands and programs installed
on the UNIX system. The [-k topic] in brackets indicates that
this information may be used with the command man. You can either type
man command, where
command is the command you want information on; or you can use
the format man -k topic, where topic is the keyword of
the general subject you want information on. Now that you know the
man command, you can look up the manual entries (called "man
pages") on any UNIX command you need to find out about.
C$ more [filename]
More displays a text file, one screen at a time. Type more file_1
to see the text file named file_1. More is roughly the
equivalent of the DOS command "type".
Who lists all the users logged onto wjh.
Finger will also list all the users logged onto wjh.
C$ finger [username]
Shows the finger information and last login of a certain user. Using the
finger command without a certain username will just show all users logged
on at present. To show finger info one screen at a time, type finger
[username] | more
C$ write [username]
Sends a message directly to the user specified. Useful if you want to
get someone's attention who's logged on. (Beware, though, some people
are very irritated by write messages...) To end the write session, hit
C$ talk [username]
Requests an interactive 'talk' session with the other user. If they
accept your talk request, the screen divides in two and both of you can
write at the same time. To exit a talk session, hit control-C.
C$ mesg [n] [y]
Allows or disallows interruptive messages, such as talk or write. To
deny all write and talk messages, use the command mesg n. To
write/talk access, mesg y.
w lists what all the users logged in are doing. A typical 'w' listing
might look like this:
3:55pm up 7 days, 12:45, 3 users, load average: 0.27, 0.57, 0.37
User tty from login@ idle JCPU PCPU what
cindy p0 220.127.116.11 3:13pm 5 1 1 telnet fas
cindy p1 destiny.harvar 3:36pm w
kemo p4 mabaker.studen 10:19am 14 pine help
w means that other users can see what processes you are running,
and you can see what processes they are running. UNIX is a very public
C$ last [username]
Shows a log of the most recent logins of a certain user. You can also
look up the last n times a user has logged on with: last -n
C$ cd [directory]
cd changes the directory you're in. When you log in, you're
automatically in your home directory on wjh. Your home directory might
contain several directories, like
Mail News WWW
To go up a level in the directory hierarchy, type cd .. or you
can use the command pwd to give your present working directory.
Lists the files in your home directory.
Some files are 'invisible.' For example, if you use the e-mail
program Pine you will have an invisible file called .pinerc with your
configuration settings. To show all of these files, you can use the
command ls -a. To show all files, type ls -al.
C$ cp [filename] [directory]
Copies a file into a directory. For example, to save my_file into
C$ cp my_file my_directory
The mv command moves a file into a new file; in essence it just renames
C$ mv old-name_file new-name_file
will replace the file old-name_file with a file named new-name_file.
Files can also be moved to different directories with the mv command.
C$ mv file_name new_folder
will move the file File_name into a directory called new_folder.
Will give a small calendar. The command cal by itself gives the calendar
for the current month and year, or you can specify another month and/or
C$ cal 8 1995
S M Tu W Th F S
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
The frm command tells who your e-mail is from and also lists the subject
lines. This only shows messages currently in your inbox. To find out who
mail only is from, you can use the command nfrm.
Chmod is a command that should be used carefully. It is used to change
the permissions on files, that is, you can make your files world-readable
or limit all access to yourself. For example, your e-mail directory is
defaulted to be read only by you, the user. However, directories that
contain web files must be world-executable.
Removes (deletes) a file. To remove a directory, type rmdir
directory_name. Directories must be empty before being deleted.
Allows you to set a command equal to an easier-to-type alias.
C$ alias p pine
will set the command pine equal to p. However, this alias will only work
during this session; once you log out the alias will no longer work.
Mail is a very un-friendly e-mail program. I'd recommend sticking with
pine. However, you can send files easily with mail by typing
C$ mail email@example.com < filename
You can also get help on
additional commands at C.C. Taylor's site at the IEEE.
William James Hall Computer Services
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Mar 31, 1998, 17:28:29 EST