Using Linux Six rules of thumb in using Linux EVERYTHING ls -l ls /bin ctrl-d Linux Kernel Shell Command Interpretation shell myfile myfile

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1 Using Linux In this section we cover some background Linux concepts including some general rules of thumb when using Linux, the operating system kernel, the shell command interpreter, and the file system. Six rules of thumb in using Linux 1. EVERYTHING in Linux is in lowercase unless otherwise specified. 2. There is ALWAYS a space after a command name. In the notes I have tried to make the space obvious using tabs and I ve often written the commands in boldface. 3. Most commands take options that alter their behaviour. These options are single letter arguments preceded by a hyphen. e.g. ls -l gives a long listing of directory information. 4. Most commands take arguments (i.e. names of things for the command to do the work on.) e.g. ls /bin will list the contents of the /bin directory. 5. Most commands will have default behaviour in the absence of these arguments often expecting the user to type in the data from the keyboard and terminating it with ctrl-d on a newline. There will be no prompt to tell you. 6. Ctrl-C will stop anything you don t want happening by generating a kill process interrupt. Linux Kernel The Linux operating system is made up of three parts: the kernel, the shell and the programs. The kernel of Linux is the hub of the operating system; it schedules CPU time, allocates main memory space to processes, and handles the file store and communications in response to system calls. Shell Command Interpretation When you log in you will be running a program called the bash shell (/bin/bash). All commands in Linux are interpreted by the command interpreter called the shell. In other words, the shell acts as an interface between the user and the kernel. When a user logs in, the login program checks the username and password, and then starts another program called the shell. The shell is a command line interpreter. That is, it interprets the commands the user types in and arranges for them to be carried out. The commands are themselves programs: when they terminate, the shell gives the user another prompt. As an illustration of the way that the shell and the kernel work together, suppose a user types rm myfile (which has the effect of removing the file myfile). The shell searches the file store for the file containing the program rm, and then requests the kernel, through system calls, to execute the program rm on myfile. When the process rm myfile has finished running, it reports its exit status to the shell (success or failure) and the shell then returns the Linux prompt to the user, indicating that it is waiting for further commands. Shells can be customised to control the environment

2 under which the programs execute, and users can use different shells on the same machine. There are several shells available in UNIX type systems; the one we are using is called bash shell which is the default shell in Linux systems. bash is the command that runs the shell (done automatically). Every user process starts with some shell. Common shells include: the Bourne shell (Command: sh written by Stephen Bourne). This the traditional Unix shell from the very early days; the C shell (command: csh written by Bill Joy). csh is an interactive shell with a syntax that looks a lot more like C than the Bourne Shell syntax; the Korn shell written by David Korn and incorporates the best of the sh and csh shells into a faster shell; the Bourne Again Shell (/bin/bash). bash is a standard shell, compatible with sh, that incorporates features of the Kornshell and the C Shell. All of these shells permit some programming. In other words the shells understand a programming language which allows users to write command programs. They provide commands called, for example, if, while, test, read echo, etc. That is commands that allow some programmed behaviour. The shell is a command interpreter. This means that it is responsible for taking the string of characters typed in at the command line and trying to make sense of it. For example, consider the command: ls -l /bin which means display a detailed list of all files in the /bin folder (directory). This string is passed to the shell program. The first word (up to the first space or tab) is taken as the command name (in other words the name of the program the user wants to run). Thereafter the following words are taken to be arguments/parameters that are passed to the called program. The programs then interpret the arguments. However, before the arguments are passed to the programs, a certain amount of processing is done. For example, wildcards for filenames (e.g. *.*) are translated to the list of actual filenames and that list is passed to the program. The File System Files and Processes Everything in Linux is either a file or a process. A process is an executing program identified by a unique PID (Process IDentifier). A file is most commonly a collection of data created by users using text editors, running programs, etc. However, a file may also be an area of a hard disk, a printer, a keyboard, an inter-process communication channel, etc. Files in general are either sources or sinks for data. Examples of common files include: a document (report, essay, etc.);

3 source code - the text of a program written in some high-level programming language or command language; executable or object code a file containing instructions understood by the computer but incomprehensible to a user, for example, a collection of binary digits; a directory, containing information about its contents, which may be a mixture of other directories (subdirectories) and ordinary files. The Directory Structure All the files are grouped together in the directory structure. The file-system is arranged in a hierarchical structure, like an inverted tree. The top of the hierarchy is traditionally called root (written as a slash /). In the diagram above, we see that the home directory of the undergraduate student "ee51vn" contains two sub-directories (docs and pics) and a file called report.doc. The full path to the file report.doc is /home/its/ug1/ee51vn/report.doc. The Linux directory hierarchy is similar to other hierarchical file systems. When you log in, you are automatically placed at a particular point in the file system called the home directory. This means that any file operations you carry out (e.g. create, edit or remove files) is assumed to refer to files in this home directory unless otherwise specified. Filenames and Pathnames As we have seen: Files, directories and even devices and inter-process communication channels in Linux are treated in the same way in the file system essentially a source or sink of streams of bytes and they are all called files. Every file has a unique name which identifies it by listing the path to take through the file system hierarchy tree to the file itself in some directory. The starting point of this file system tree is called root and written /. The root directory contains the following directories as standard:

4 bin binaries executable programs supplied by Linux etc Contains various commands and files which are used for system administration. Contents include the user account, password, and user group administration information. home Where the user directories are normally stored lib Libraries of definitions to aid various utilities and programming languages. dev Contains special files used to represent real physical devices such as printers, disks and terminals. One of these files represents a null (nonexistent) device used as a dump. tmp A space for the system to create temporary files. usr Contains system files and directories that you share with other users. Application programs, on-line manual pages, and language dictionaries typically reside here. Every file and directory in the file system can be identified by a complete list of the names of the directories that are on the route from the root directory to that file or directory. Each directory name on the route is separated by a / (forward slash). For example: /usr/bin/ls This gives the full pathname starting at the root directory and going down through the directories usr and bin to the file ls which contains the executable code of the ls program. You can picture the full pathname as looking like this: These full pathnames are also known as absolute pathnames. You can also name a file or directory according to its location in relation to your current directory. Such names are called relative pathnames because they are descriptions of the route to the file relative to the current directory as a starting point. The pathname is given as a / (slash) separated list of the directories on the route to the file (or directory) from your current directory.

5 For example programs/games/cards/solitaire would refer to a file called solitaire stored in the cards subdirectory, of the games subdirectory, of the programs subdirectory, of whatever directory I am in when I use the name. In the tree above, if the current directory was /usr then I could refer to the ls program file as bin/ls. The cd (change directory) command The command cd directory means change the current working directory to 'directory'. The current working directory may be thought of as the directory you are in, i.e. your current position in the file-system tree. The directories. and.. In any directory try the following variation on the ls command: ls lasi As you can see, in the directory listing, there are two special directories called (.) and (..) The current directory (.) In Linux, (.) means the current directory, so typing cd. NOTE: there is a space between cd and the dot means stay where you are (the current directory). This may not seem very useful at first, but using (.) as the name of the current directory will save a lot of typing, as we shall see later. The parent directory (..) (..) means the parent of the current directory, so typing cd.. will take you one directory up the hierarchy (back to the parent directory). Say your current directory path looked something like this: /student/dcom/pmurphy Now if you go up one level in the directory tree cd.. then checking the path of the present working directory (pwd) you would find it is /student/dcom Note: A fast way to return to your own home directory is to type cd on its own. This is very useful if you are lost in the file system. In relative pathnames, the string.. (dot dot) is used to represent the directory immediately above the current directory; i.e. the parent directory. This allows references such as../pkeane/programs/whatsit meaning the whatsit file in the programs subdirectory of pkeane s home directory which is in the same directory as my current position. The ~ (tilde) character can be used as shorthand for the full pathname to your home directory. So instead of say /staff/rothwell/thisfile I can refer to ~/thisfile. The PATH variable As we have seen, if the system cannot find a command, say, cmd1, it returns a message saying: If 'cmd1' is not a typo you can use command-not-found to lookup the package that contains it, like this: cnf cmd1

6 This indicates that either the command doesn't exist at all on the system or it is simply not in your path. When you type a command, your path (or PATH) variable tells the shell what directories to search to find the program to run the command you typed. To find out what your path is, at the Linux shell prompt, enter echo $PATH Your path will look something like: /sbin:/usr/sbin:/usr/local/sbin:/root/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/bin /X11:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/games:/usr/lib/jvm/jre/bin:/usr/lib/mit/bin When you enter any command, your shell will look for the appropriate executable file in the following order: first, it will look through the directory /sbin, then /usr/sbin, then /usr/local/sbin, and so on until it finds it or fails to find it. To modify this path to search in the current directory: PATH=$PATH:. #note the. at the end export PATH So now. is included as a the directory you also want the shell to search. This means that when the scripts you write are in the current folder you need only type the script name and may omit the./ before it. To make the changes permanent use gedit to create a file called.bash_profile (note the leading. ) in your home directory (that is /root if logged in as root) and add the commands above to it. NOTE: The earlier entries in the PATH variable value take precedence over the later ones. For example, if you want. to take precedence, replace $PATH:. with.:$path to put the dot earlier.

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