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Technical Article => Operating System =>  Linux/Unix

What are some lesser known but useful Unix commands?

  Joshua Levy      2011-12-27 09:27:49      5,710    0    1

A few that come to mind, some less known, some more:

  • xargs or parallel: run things in parallel, with lots of options
  • sed and awk: more well-known but still super useful for processing text files, and faster than Python or Ruby
  • m4: simple macro processor
  • screen: powerful terminal multiplexing and session persistence
  • yes: print a string a lot
  • cal: nice calendar
  • env: run a command (useful in scripts)
  • look: find English words (or lines in a file) beginning with a string
  • cut and paste and join: data manipulation
  • fmt: format text paragraphs
  • pr: format text into pages/columns
  • fold: wrap lines of text
  • column: format text into columns or tables
  • expand and unexpand: convert between tabs and spaces
  • nl: add line numbers
  • seq: print numbers
  • bc: calculator
  • factor: factor integers
  • nc: network debugging and data transfer
  • dd: moving data between files or devices
  • file: identify type of a file
  • stat: file info
  • tac: print files in reverse
  • shuf: random selection of lines from a file
  • comm: compare sorted files line by line
  • hd and bvi: dump or edit binary files
  • strings: extract text from binary files
  • tr: character translation or manipulation
  • iconv or uconv: conversion for text encodings
  • split and csplit: splitting files
  • 7z: high-ratio file compression
  • ldd: dynamic library info
  • nm: symbols from object files
  • ab: benchrmarking web servers
  • strace: system call debugging
  • mtr: better traceroute for network debugging
  • cssh: visual concurrent shell
  • wireshark and tshark: packet capture and network debugging
  • host and dig: DNS lookups
  • lsof: process file descriptor and socket info
  • dstat: useful system stats
  • iostat: CPU and disk usage stats
  • htop: improved version of top
  • last: login history
  • w: who's logged on
  • id: user/group identity info
  • sar: historic system stats
  • iftop or nethogs: network utilization by socket or process
  • ss: socket statistics
  • dmesg: boot and system error messages
  • (Linux) hdparm: SATA/ATA disk manipulation/performance
  • (Linux) lsb_release: Linux distribution info
  • (Linux) lshw: hardware information
  • fortune, ddate, and sl: um, well, it depends on whether you consider steam locomotives and Zippy quotations "useful"



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