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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
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If you have your terminal started and you type in "medit" and hit Enter, medit will start and you won't be able to use that terminal until you close medit. But if you type in "medit &" you'll be able to use terminal without closing medit. So you can use one terminal instance to start any amount of apps you like with "&".
A single ampersand at the end of a command forks the process into the background, so the shell can continue onto the next operation without having to wait for it to finish. The output you get is the process number, as reported by the shell's job control feature. It's rather pointless to use it with commands that terminate instantly, though, like echo.
BTW, I don't know if anybody noticed this, but testing things as root is one road to ruin, new Linux user or not. To minimize SNAFUs best use your unprivileged user account for that and only switch to root if required.
additionally, '&&' will run one command after another. example: the two commands, 'apt-get update', and 'apt-get dist-upgrade' are two separate commands but can be linked with the '&&' by:
apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
Actually, when && is used, the second command will only be run if the first command succeeds. This is because && is the logical AND operator. The way bash evaluates logical expressions, a logical AND will always fail if any of the subexpressions is FALSE. Therefore, if the first command in the string fails, the second will not be executed as the expression has already failed. The opposite behavior is given by || (logical OR), which will execute commands until any one of them succeeds. If you want all commands in a string to be run regardless of the success or failure of any individual command, they should be separated by semicolons ( ; ).