Chapter 3

Commanding the Shell

IN THIS CHAPTER

check Opening a terminal window or a virtual console

check Discovering the bash shell

check Using Linux commands

check Writing a shell script

Sometimes, things don’t work perfectly, and problems pop up. What do you do if, because of those problems, the graphical user interface (GUI) desktop stops responding to your mouse clicks? What do you do if the GUI won’t start at all? All is not lost: You can still tell your Linux system what to do, but you have to do so by typing commands in a text screen. In these situations, you work with the shell — the Linux command interpreter. This chapter introduces the bash shell, the default shell in most Linux distributions.

After you figure out how to work with the shell, you may even begin to like the simplicity and power of the Linux commands. Then, even if you’re a GUI aficionado, someday soon you may find yourself firing up a terminal window and making the system sing and dance with two- or three-letter commands strung together by strange punctuation characters. (Hey, I can dream, can’t I?)

Opening Terminal Windows ...

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