Chapter 3. Using the Shell Effectively

In This chapter:

  • Using Filenames

  • Reusing and Editing Commands

  • Creating Command Shortcuts

  • Using Command Substitution

  • Navigating the File System

  • Using Your Prompt

  • Using Job Control

Chapter 2, A Shell Primer, introduced basic shell capabilities such as input/output redirection, filename patterns, pipelines, and background processing. These form the foundation of what the shell can do for you, but the shell has lots of other helpful features that users are frequently unaware of. If you learn some of these features, you’ll use the command line more effectively and save time as you work. This chapter will teach you how to:

  • Type filenames with less effort

  • Repeat commands without retyping them

  • Fix mistakes in your commands

  • Refer to a file that has a space in its name or has a name that is hard to type

  • Create shortcuts for frequently used command sequences

  • Move around the file system quickly without typing long pathnames

  • Suspend a command and resume it later

This chapter is relatively long, but individual sections are short, and show you quickly and without much reading how to use the shell more efficiently. Browse through the chapter and note the subject headings, then skip around as your interests dictate. When you want more information about a topic, turn to Part II, Becoming More Efficient. Check the index, too. Often, a given feature is discussed in several contexts.

Some of the techniques discussed in this chapter may seem strange to you at first. The best way ...

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