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Old 12-15-2013, 05:20 PM   #1
toby1
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Question Server Commands for Linux Newbie


Can anyone recommend a source for a list of commands that can be used by searching for the desired result first?

To clarify, MAN can be very useful for users who already know which command they need, but just want to jog their memory on syntax or parameter use. But for a command line newbie, who is trying to learn by setting up a dedicated home server on a non-existent budget, any documentation that only lists the commands alphanumerically may as well be written in an unknown language.

What would be really helpful to me (and likely to many others), is a database, book, or other documentation that would allow one to start from a point of "I know what I want to do, now which command(s) will do it for me?" Then one can effectively consult an alpha based list for details on usage.

I should point out that I am only a newbie as pertains to command line. I can find my way around any GUI Desktop environment, since I've been building and servicing PCs for over two decades. But as I cut my teeth on Mac OS 6.x and ProDOS, then moved into Win NT and later desktop OS's, I've never had an opportunity to truly learn and use command line interface.

Also, I am not one of those fortunate few who can pick up a book, read it, then remember what it said. I need at-hand documentation, preferably with lots of baby steps, while I put into real world practice what it is that I'm reading. With use and practice, eventually I need fewer baby steps. But I need to start somewhere.

Free online documentation is preferred, since I have been unemployed or underemployed for a few years now, and cash for purchasing books is hard to come by.

Thanks for your time, and for any help or suggestions.
 
Old 12-15-2013, 05:31 PM   #2
yancek
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Have you done an online search for "Linux commands" or something similar? The link below has a link on the page to download the book, free.

http://linuxcommand.org/tlcl.php

The link below has an alphabetical list of command commands:

http://ss64.com/bash/

If you are familiar with windows, the page below has a comparison of windows/Linux commands as well as link to more info:

http://www.computerhope.com/unix.htm
 
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Old 12-15-2013, 06:06 PM   #3
berndbausch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toby1 View Post
Can anyone recommend a source for a list of commands that can be used by searching for the desired result first?
I believe the best tool for this is Google or a competitor (Wolfram Alpha claims to undertand your question - perhaps a better choice?).

You mention baby steps: There is the Linux documentation project http://tldp.org with its long list of Howto documents, each focusing on a rather narrow topic. Often they expect you to know the concepts, but that doesn't seem to be an issue in your case. Some are fairly outdated, though.

Many essential application tools like Postfix for mail or Apache for web services have their own Howtos.

On your server, /usr/share/doc/<name of the software package in question> sometimes contains good documentation. YMMV.
As soon as you know a bit more about the taks you want to accomplish, the apropos command is really helpful. apropos dns, for example, lists all man pages that contain the word dns in their one-line description.
 
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Old 12-15-2013, 06:21 PM   #5
toby1
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Smile @yancek

First, thank you for responding, and so quickly too. I truly do appreciate any and all suggestions. Now, to answer your question, yes, I have searched online many times. And all I find are alphabetical lists, such as the ones found in two of your links.

However, I was unaware of the specific book you recommended. It is available to borrow from the Phoenix Public Library, but they own only one copy to share between twenty-some-odd branches, and that copy is currently checked out to someone and has a wait list. So I might not see it until next spring, and then only have it for two weeks. (They do not allow renewals on items that have only one copy or have a waiting list.)

In the meantime, I will keep hoping for additional suggestions.
 
Old 12-15-2013, 06:29 PM   #6
toby1
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Smile @ unSpawn & berndbausch

Thank you both for your feedback. unSpawn, that is an impressive list of links! I've already opened them in new tabs, and will be bookmarking them into a Linux folder on my bookmarks bar. I obviously posted my query in the right forum. To get so many helpful responses, and in such a short time after original post, proves I'm making the right choice in learning Linux. IMHO, the cooperative attitude of Linux Techies is far superior to the highly competitive attitude of most of the Win Techs I've met.
 
Old 12-15-2013, 07:16 PM   #7
jpollard
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You can also use "man -k <keyword>" and it will identify all commands that have that keyword in the header of the documentation. Works for many basic things...

Code:
$ man -k download
CPAN (3pm)           - query, download and build perl modules from CPAN sites
fxload (8)           - Firmware download to EZ-USB devices
git-fetch (1)        - Download objects and refs from another repository
git-http-fetch (1)   - Download from a remote git repository via HTTP
lwp-download (1)     - Fetch large files from the web
smbget (1)           - wget-like utility for download files over SMB
update-pciids (8)    - download new version of the PCI ID list
wget (1)             - The non-interactive network downloader.
XkbSetIndicatorMap (3) - Downloads the changes to the server based on modific...
yumdownloader (1)    - (unknown subject)
The form of the header is "name (section) - brief description". then to get the full documentation you use "man <name>" or sometimes where the name shows up in multiple sections, "man -s <section> <name>"

See the man documentation page for details (especially about what the sections are)
 
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:30 PM   #8
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toby1 View Post
To clarify, MAN can be very useful for users who already know which command they need, but just want to jog their memory on syntax or parameter use. But for a command line newbie, who is trying to learn by setting up a dedicated home server on a non-existent budget, any documentation that only lists the commands alphanumerically may as well be written in an unknown language.
Well, I can't really give you what you are asking for, but there is a chance that this might be what you want:
  • man -k (or apropos, which is the same thing) does something that you'll find useful: you have to be a bit selective with what you search for, but man -k returns the listing of man pages that cover the word for which for which have searched...and, obviously you can further filter the results with grep, if you wish
  • some of the man pages or easier to use than others; I'm sorry, but life's like that; all of them tend towards the terse, but when you have to wade through six pages of terse, that can get a bit much, but then, you are probably looking at something that needs a bit more descriptive than a man page, unless you just need a reminder
  • here's a web site relevant to setting up a server; the material is a bit old now, but the fundamentals don't change

As a bonus, here is a version of the man pages as web pages (plus some other stuff), which is probably easier to read than using the man pages straight. And, you get the man pages for apps that you haven't yet installed, which you don't get in the more normal man page. OTOH, if there are differences in function between different versions of a command, who knows whether that version is the same as the the version that you are using.
 
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:09 PM   #9
frankbell
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The apropos command can help you find relevant man files. In a terminal, try man apropos.

The reference I found most useful when I started was Garrels's Intro to Linux: http://www.tldp.org/LDP/intro-linux/html/ (It's also available in PDF and other formats on the "guides" page).
 
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:28 PM   #10
JJJCR
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Download Virtual Box, download CentOS or Ubuntu and start using Linux.

Once you start using Linux, you will know which command you need most.

On the Main Menu of this LQ forum, there is a link called "Book Reviews" check it out.

Good luck!!!
 
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:38 AM   #11
unSpawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toby1 View Post
I obviously posted my query in the right forum. To get so many helpful responses, and in such a short time after original post, proves I'm making the right choice in learning Linux.
Hmm. I'd say don't let what others say or do influence what you're going to do. After all it's your time you'll invest. I've been using UNIX quite some time now and I still need to read documentation though I don't necessarily see that as a problem...


Quote:
Originally Posted by toby1 View Post
IMHO, the cooperative attitude of Linux Techies is far superior to the highly competitive attitude of most of the Win Techs I've met.
IMHO cooperation and competitiveness aren't mutually exclusive. For example you'll find plenty of threads on LQ where members correct each other and sometimes ad nauseam. And as long as it leads to a friendly discussion with good results that's OK.
 
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