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Using Linux

The SE group uses Linux as operating system for most of its machines. This page aims to give you some assistance in finding your way around such a system. Please contribute to this page if you think something is missing.

Students in the SE-lab will find some Linux oriented books there. Asking a fellow student for information can also be very helpful. And of course there is always the WWW; just pick one of the 361.000.000 hits about Linux to help you on your way….

Many people use a Linux system through an ssh connection from a Windows system (the serack systems), others use Linux as their desktop system.


A shell is the program that prints prompts like [me@se]$, accepts lines of text with names of commands and their arguments, executes those commands, and echoes text printed by the command. A commonly used shell is bash.

Below are a few of the basic shell commands to get you started. If you need more information look at one of the many Linux books, read Linux related web pages, or simply ask someone else. Linux itself also has lots of additional information in help files, manual pages, etc.

Basic shell commands

Linux_Command Description
passwd Change your password. Enter your current password, followed by your new password twice. Use a strong password, of at least eight characters with both UPPER and lowercase characters.
mkdir name Create a new directory with name name
rmdir name Permanently delete directory name. Can only be done if the directory is empty
cd name Go to directory name
cd Without any parameters this command will get you to your home directory
pwd Show the path to the current directory
ls Shows a list of the content of the current directory, excluding the hidden files
ls directoryname Shows a list of the content of directoryname, excluding the hidden files
cp name name2 Copy file name from the current directory to directory name2, if such a directory exists. Copy file name to file name2 in the current directory, in case directory name2 does not exist. You will not be warned if this action overwrites an existing file name2
mv name name2 Move the file name to directory name2, if such a directory exists. Move (rename) file name to name2 in the current directory if directory name2 does not exist. You will not be warned if this action overwrites an existing file name2
rm name Remove (delete) file name, without asking 'Are you sure?'.

For a basic Linux introduction guide, see Introduction to Linux and for even more information, see The Linux Documentation Project.


Editors exist in many shapes and sizes, from simple to extremely powerful. A few are listed in the table below, no doubt more editors exist, feel free to add them.

Editor_Name Classification Description
nano Light weight Command line
JOE ? Command line
gedit Light weight A simple editor for basic purposes, part of the GNOME environment. A bit smarter than Windows Notepad
Kate Powerful KDE Advanced Text Editor
Kwrite ? Simplified version of Kate
nedit Powerful A multi purpose X window editor
vi/vim/gvim Very powerful vi is the original program, currently most systems have vim and/or gvim of the Vi IMproved project. This editor lasts longer than a life time
emacs Very powerful

WikipediaComparison of text editors

sesystems/using_linux.txt · Last modified: Wednesday, 08 October 2008 : 09:57:17 (external edit)