Getting started with Linux


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File searching/manipulation

Copy all files inc subdirs:
cp -a /usr/local/foo/* /var/temp/bar
Delete all files inc subdirs:
rm -rf folder
SCP a folder including sub-dirs:
scp -r folder/

Find files with indexer:

locate filename

Find files without indexer:

find /dir -name filename
find /dir -name '*part of file name*'
Delete everything older than 7 days:
find /directoryname -type f -mtime +7 -exec rm {} \;
Search text within files and print the lines:
find /dir -type f -exec grep "textinfile" {} \;

Search text within files and print only the filenames:

find /dir -type f | xargs grep -li "textinfile"

Search and replace over multiple files:

perl -pi -w -e 's/old/new/g;' *.php

Show files accessed this year:

ls -Rlua /dir|grep -v '\.$'|grep `date "+%Y"`

Du for each folder without showing subdirs:

for i in `find . -maxdepth 1 -type d`; do du -sh $i; done;

Remove duplicate files [1] The script below will find duplicate files (files with the same md5sum) in a specified directory and output a new shell script containing commented-out rm statements for deleting them. You can then edit this output to decide which to keep.;
echo "#! /bin/sh" > $OUTF;
find "$@" -type f -print0 |
  xargs -0 -n1 md5sum |
    sort --key=1,32 | uniq -w 32 -d --all-repeated=separate |
    sed -r 's/^[0-9a-f]*( )*//;s/([^a-zA-Z0-9./_-])/\\\1/g;s/(.+)/#rm \1/' >> $OUTF;
chmod a+x $OUTF; ls -l $OUTF


Show listening ports and the processes using the ports:

sudo netstat -ltnup

Ascertain what line in the rouitng table a particular destination ip uses:

/sbin/ip ro get
View routing table:
route -n
Add static route:
sudo ip route add networkaddress/cidr via next_hop_ip

Investigating a system / Troubleshooting

See also Linux System Troubleshooting
Show processes sorted by memory usage descending:

ps -e -orss=,args= | sort -b -k1,1n | pr -TW$COLUMNS

Text Manipulation

Strip out a single character from text:

;Strip colons from a MAC address, tr cannot be used when stripping a phrase
echo 00:00:00:00:00:00 | tr -d ':'

Strip out the phrase 'remove me' from text:

cat file|sed '/s/remove me//g'

Delete the first character of every line:

cat file|sed 's/^.//'

Find words in garbled text [2]

echo "Garbled Text" | grep -o -F -f /usr/share/dict/words | sed -e "/^.$/d"

Get columns 1 and 3 and seperate with commas:

cat file | awk -v OFS=',' '{print $1, $3}'


See Also BASH Tricks
Setup a portable prompt with user@host: pwd on systems that have an old prompt by default, like some BSD machines

PS1='\u@\h:\w\$ '

Add to bashrc for a scpnewestfile user@host:/dir command to automatically scp the most recently modified file to another host:

scp `ls -ltr|tail -1|tr -s ' '|cut -d ' ' -f8` $1


Create tar archive

tar -cvzf files.tar.gz file1 file2 file3 filen

Create bz2 archive of dir/

tar -c dir/ | bzip2 > dir.tar.bz2

Extract archive

bzip2 -dc dir.tar.bz2|tar -x

Copy dir/ with permissions to remote machine

( tar -c /dir/to/copy ) | ssh -C user@remote 'cd /where/to/ && tar -x -p'


See Also: Less Tricks

Case-insensitive search in less: or type -i
/normal search text here/i

Redirecting Output

Redirect standard output and standard error to a file:

command >file 2>&1

Pipe standard output and standard error: tee in this example

script 2>&1 | tee file


SSH Auto complete:

SSH_COMPLETE=( $(cat ~/.ssh/known_hosts | \
                 cut -f 1 -d ' ' | \
                 sed -e s/,.*//g | \
                 uniq | \
                 egrep -v [0123456789]) )
complete -o default -W "${SSH_COMPLETE[*]}" ssh


Query all installed packages, similar to yum list installed

rpm -qa

Query package owning a file

rpm -qf /bin/file

List files installed by a package

rpm -qc package

List status of files installed by a package [3]

rpm -qs package

List post install and uninstall scripts inside an rpm [4]

rpm --scripts -qp package.rpm


Search for packages of a given name or description:

apt-cache search virtualbox

Search for packages that contain a certain file

apt-file search filename

Auto install security updates (Ubuntu)

Package unattended-upgrades allows this - installed by default but not automatically scheduled to run by default.

Install security updates only:

sudo unattended-upgrade

Configure to download/install security updates automatically, excluding any that have additional dependancies:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure -plow unattended-upgrades

See Also: /usr/share/doc/unattended-upgrades/README


Stopwatch on your linux machine: time cat to srart, Ctrl+D to stop
Show startup items:chkconfig --list


Personal tools