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Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


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Old 02-20-2003, 10:19 PM   #1
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Registered: Dec 2002
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Cannot find reliable information on shell commands

Every time I try to find some tutorials to get to know my way around a bash shell, I can't seem to find what I need, no matter what search engine I use, and I have used many. Man pages don't help, they just seem to assume that I know a lot about what I am doing. If I knew what I needed to know, wouldn't I not be looking at them. Very frustrated. Is there no comprehensive guide for beginners, that actually treats you like a beginner? There doesn't seem to be any.

I'm using Mandrake 9.0 and I only have the first ISO installed, so whatever documentation is on the other two disks, I don't have, nor do I have any interest in d/ling the other two ISO's on a 56K. I figured whatever I would need I could d/, and compile myself, but obviously not, since I can't find a resource to teach me. I love Linux, I love everything about it, except that it seems like if you don't know how to use it, you're screwed. Coming from Microsoft, I obviously don't have any real knowledge, as they won't let you do anything of real importance, and everything is done automatically for you with Installshied and Wizard and every thing.

Someone help.
Old 02-20-2003, 10:31 PM   #2
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Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Well, the bash shell itself only comes with a small set of commands and scripting keywords (which are listed by 'man bash'). Other shells also have their own set of commands, and their own syntax.

It sounds like what you're looking for is an introductory guide to some common Unix/Linux terminal commands. One site that teaches you some useful commands is the Linux Cookbook. Maybe once you learn some of the stuff there, and how to get around in a shell, you'll be ready to start looking at man pages and whatnot Yes, I know they can be pretty daunting at first! But they will become your best friend in the days to come. Give it time, and keep tinkering.
Old 02-20-2003, 10:46 PM   #3
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I do hope the linux cookbook will give me some basic help. Thanks for the link! Even the Linux Documentation Project and The Ultimate Linux Nebie Guide are not really giving me what I need.

As a windows power user, it is frustrating to go to a new OS where I don't really know my way around. I love the command line; just haven't grasped it yet. I appreciate the help, and anyone else who has good resources, feel more than free to post for me. Learning text interfaces is a slow process for me, as I can kick some butt on a windows gui here, there, and everywhere, but I've never really used the command line. I never had a need to, because I got into computing around 1994, right around when the command line was becoming obsolete, and have just now found linux, and open source. What a wonderful world it will be when I learn my way around.
Old 02-20-2003, 11:06 PM   #4
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Debian
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a "begginer to bash" will most likely not get you very far past the basics. I suspect that after you learn `echo`, you go ahead and learn how to use other programs - sed, awk, grep, sort, cut, etc. - because the piping and combination of commands is where the power remains. see sig. Now, after you do that, go and google for actual scripts (vs. intro to bash). The only way to learn is through practice - peruse other scripts and use them as examples, then figure out something you want to do, and code it. one fun thing is to complicate your scripts to deal with unexpected situations - checking for the existence of files, logging and emailing errors, etc.
Old 02-21-2003, 03:55 AM   #5
Registered: Oct 2002
Location: Northern Ontario, Canada
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Other sources I found to be really useful is Running Linux by O'Reilly and it's "desk reference" Linux in a Nutshell. You'll have to buy them as they're books, but I'm pretty sure that Linux in a Nutshell can be found online as well. It's more of a quick reference guide than step by step though. Running Linux is really good for taking you through doing things in Linux. I also highly recommend heeding the advice of the other two posters here as they've both given really good pointers. I, too, need to study bash scripting.
Old 02-21-2003, 05:41 AM   #6
Registered: Dec 2001
Location: Kent in UK
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I have a book by O'Reilly "Learning the bash shell"
Should be more than enough to get you started.
Old 02-21-2003, 07:19 AM   #7
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For refernece, this link may be of some use. It's taken from O'Reilly's Linux In A Nutshell, and has 379 commands and the help for each of them.
Old 02-21-2003, 11:55 AM   #8
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I highly recommend the "advanced bash scripting guide" if you're a power user. Google for it, it contains everything you'd ever want to know about shell programming and usage.


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