ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

5 Useful Linux Commands for Complete Newbies

Updated on May 21, 2014

You've just installed Ubuntu on your computer and want to show off your geeky side to your newbie friends?Or maybe you want to do more with the oh-so-powerful beast called Linux yet not mess up your computer.Either way commands in linux are like superpowers if you use them well you're in total control,if you don't use them properly panic strikes.Fortunately you won't be learning any dangerous commands in this tutorial,just the fun,safe yet useful ones.

So,why would I want to learn them?

Ok let's say you want to lookup how many minutes/hours/days your computer has been running.You'd normally go to the ubuntu software center,search for the application,download it,install it,start it and then admire your 5 day streak.But,if you know a simple command called uptime and type it in the terminal,you'll instantly get your uptime thus saving a lot of time.Again,commands are purely optional,for almost every command there is a pretty(or ugly sometimes) GUI application.It's as they say “There's an app for that!”

Ok now tell me the commands,make me a tux ninja!

First of all you'll need to open the terminal to enter these commands.To do that, Go to Applications then Accessories then click on Terminal.Otherwise you can simply press Alt+F2 and type gnome-terminal and then press 'Enter'/click on Run.Now that you're ready,here are the commands you need to know.Let the force be with you!.

1)Looking up definitions

Don't have time to lookup words from a real dictionary?.Here's a command using which you can look up words instantly.Just copy the command and paste it in the terminal.To paste in the terminal use the keyboard combo 'CTRL+SHIFT+V' instead of the normal Ctrl+v.Note:you need a working internet connection to use this command.

curl dict://dict.org/d:<wordtolookup>

Example

curl dict://dict.org/d:truculent

Screenshot

curl to use dictionary
curl to use dictionary

2)Killing the slow pokes.

You've got a bunch of programs running together and one of them stops responding.Either you can wait for it to resume or just kill it instantly using a simple command.Say firefox is not responding,all you got to do is type in 'pkill firefox'.If you're too lazy to type firefox,just type 'pkill fir' and then press tab,your command will be autocompleted.

pkill <Nameoftheprogram>

Example

pkill firefox

3)Tweet from the command line

Tweet from the terminal to impress your friends.The tweet will be posted immediately and will show API as the client.Replace 'YourUsername' and 'YourPassword' with your username and your password respectively.Then add your status message(don't remove the double quotes).Finally,paste the command in the terminal.If the output is a bit cluttered just press Ctrl+L.

curl -u YourUsername:YourPassword -d status="Your status message" http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml

Example

curl -u someuser:A@#$@#@$$ -d status="My first tweet from the linux command line!" http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml

4)Monitoring the memory

Sometimes it is necessary to monitor how much memory is free during a session.If you're running too many programs,the amount of free memory would definitely be less.Here's the command to easily monitor free and used memory.

Type/copy and paste 'free -m' without the quotes in the terminal to see how much memory is free and how much is in use.The above command will show memory in Megabytes.You can also see the output in Gigabytes or Kilobytes if you want.Just change the command to 'free -g' for gigabytes and 'free -k' for kilobytes

free -m

5)Downloading Files
Downloading files from websites can be quite a pain when you've to wait for the downloads to finish and then close the browser.Sometimes we close the browser accidentally and interrupt the download process.To download almost any file off the internet,right click on the download link and select the 'Copy Link Location' option.Don't close the browser yet.Now open the terminal,type in 'wget -c ' and then press Ctrl+Shift+V followed by 'Enter' key.This will start the download with a neat progress bar.To cancel the download just press Ctrl+c.To resume just press the up arrow on the keyboard till the command reappears and press 'Enter'.Now open your home directory and your file will be there.

wget -c <Link to file>

Example

wget -c http://fly.srk.fer.hr/jpg/flyweb.jpg

What if I get stuck?

If you don't know/forget what the command does just type in 'whatis' followed by the name of the command.eg: 'whatis w',a brief description of the command will be shown.Most of the commands are well documented hence you can view their manuals by just typing 'man' followed by the command name.eg : 'man free' will show the documentation for the free command.If you're still a bit uncomfortable with the command line,try reading this article.


If you have any problems with commands mentioned above,feel free to comment your problem.And don't forget to choose your favourite command.

Poll

Out of the 5 commands which one is your favorite?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 

      6 years ago

      Does anyone know how to do curl tweeting now?

    • profile image

      rahul choudhury 

      6 years ago

      good one!!!!!!!!!!!thanks.

    • profile image

      stobbsm 

      7 years ago

      Curl tweeting doesn't work since the change to oauth. The rest is great though.

    • profile image

      darkduck 

      7 years ago

      I would not say that these commands are for newbies. Newbies rarely work in CLI only, at least post tweets from there. ;)

    • profile image

      Amit 

      7 years ago

      Wonder why most people (as of now) like 'pkill' more than others =)

    • tonybaldwin profile image

      tonybaldwin 

      7 years ago from 06513

      I wrote a few scripts to search not only dict.org, but also google dictionary and reverso.net, using cURL similarly (http://baldwinsoftware.com/blog/2011/04/25/search-... I also have used cURL to tweet and dent (identi.ca) from the command line. Great stuff! One thing you don't mention is that dict.org has numerous resources, and you can specify which of them to use while searching. My script allows for that.

    • fossmaniac profile imageAUTHOR

      fossmaniac 

      7 years ago from Earth

      @simeonvisser Thanks for the tip !

    • simeonvisser profile image

      simeonvisser 

      7 years ago

      curl is not installed by default on a Ubuntu 10.04 installation. I just tried it and it was not installed. You can install it with sudo apt-get install curl but that is an additional step which is not really handy for newbies.

    • fossmaniac profile imageAUTHOR

      fossmaniac 

      8 years ago from Earth

      You're welcome :)

    • profile image

      khmohsin 

      8 years ago

      Love Linux, thanks for sharing this

      Regards,

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)