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The Linux Command Line by William E. Shotts Jr.

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Viewing File Contents with less

The less command is a program to view text files. Throughout our Linux system, there are many files that contain human-readable text. The less program provides a convenient way to examine them.

Why would we want to examine text files? Because many of the files that contain system settings (called configuration files) are stored in this format, being able to read them gives us insight about how the system works. In addition, many of the actual programs that the system uses (called scripts) are stored in this format. In later chapters, we will learn how to edit text files in order to modify system settings and write our own scripts, but for now we will just look at their contents.

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