Chapter 2. Dealing with Files and Filesystems

Introduction

Now that you’re a bit more comfortable with the Unix environment, it’s time to tackle some commands. It’s funny how some of the most useful commands on a Unix system have gained themselves a reputation for being user-unfriendly. Do find, grep, sed, tr, or mount make you shudder? If not, remember that you still have novice users who are intimidated by—and therefore aren’t gaining the full potential of—these commands.

This chapter also addresses some useful filesystem manipulations. Have you ever inadvertently blown away a portion of your directory structure? Would you like to manipulate /tmp or your swap partition? Do your Unix systems need to play nicely with Microsoft systems? Might you consider ghosting your BSD system? If so, this chapter is for you.

Find Things

Finding fles in Unix can be an exercise in frustration for a novice user. Here’s how to soften the learning curve.

Remember the first time you installed a Unix system? Once you successfully booted to a command prompt, I bet your first thought was, “Now what?” or possibly, “Okay, where is everything?” I’m also pretty sure your first foray into man find wasn’t all that enlightening.

How can you as an administrator make it easier for your users to find things? First, introduce them to the built-in commands. Then, add a few tricks of your own to soften the learning curve.

Finding Program Paths

Every user should become aware of the three w’s: which, whereis, and whatis ...

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