Unix Manual Pages

A History of Unix

Unix in Summary

An introductory tutorial on Unix...


Selecting a Shell

Regular Expressions...

Perl and Unix...

Help with vi...

Shell scripting...


The 10 Unix commands every beginner needs to know...

The 10 most misunderstood commands...

The 62 Core Commands

Commands by Category

Alphabetic list of commands...


Copyright/Copyleft info...

Core Commands



With many competing standards (UNIX 98, UNIX95, POSIX.2, SVID3, 4.3BSD, etc.) and most users having to deal with multiple systems, it's crucial to know which commands are fundamental enough to be used on nearly every version of Unix.

Keep in mind, however, that the person who installed/maintains the system has surely added and removed many commands.

at - execute commands at a later time

awk - pattern scanning and processing language

basename - deliver portions of path names

cat - concatenate and display files

cd - change working directory

chgrp - change file group ownership

chmod - change the permissions mode of a file

chown - change file ownership

cmp - compare two files

comm - select or reject lines common to two files

cp - copy files

date - write the date and time

dd - convert and copy a file

df - report number of free disk blocks and files

diff - display line-by-line differences between pairs of text files

echo - echo arguments

ed - text editor

ex - text editor

exit - terminate a process

expr - evaluate arguments as an expression

false - provide truth values

file - determine file type

find - find files

grep - search a file for a pattern

head - display first few lines of files

join - relational database operator

kill - terminate or signal processes

ln - make hard or symbolic links to files

ls - list contents of directory

man - display manual pages

mesg - permit or deny messages

mkdir - make directories

more - browse or page through a text file

mv - move files

nice - invoke a command with an altered scheduling priority

od - octal dump

pr - print files

ps - report process status

pwd - return working directory name

rm - remove directory entries

rmdir - remove directory entries

sed - stream editor

sh - standard and job control shell and command interpreter

sleep - suspend execution for an interval

sort - sort, merge, or sequence check text files

split - split a file into pieces

stty - set the options for a terminal

tabs - set tabs on a terminal

tail - deliver the last part of a file

test - evaluate condition(s) or make execution of actions dependent upon the evaluation of condition(s)

time - time a simple command

touch - change file access and modification times

tr - translate characters

true - provide truth values

tty - return user's terminal name

uudecode - encode a binary file, or decode its encoded representation

uuencode - encode a binary file, or decode its encoded representation

vi - screen-oriented (visual) display editor based on ex

wait - await process completion

wc - display a count of lines, words and characters in a file

who - who is on the system

write - write to another user

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