Appendix B: Glossary of Linux and Operating System Terms

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absolute pathname

A pathname that explicitly identifies all directories from the root directory to an individual file.


A combination of a user login and password that is created by the system administrator. The creation of an account also automatically assigns a home directory


Short for administrator, referring to the person responsible for the maintenance of a computer.


An alternate name, or abbreviation, used in place of a command or a sequence of shell commands.


Denoted by the ! character. The shell command !!, which is used to repeat the last command you typed in, for example, is pronounced “Bang! Bang!”


Bourne-again shell, a newer version of the Bourne shell and the most commonly used shell in Linux.


Basic Input Output System. This is software embedded in a chip in the PC that tells the PC what to do when it turns on (for example, whether to boot through the CD, floppy drive, or hard drive).


A directory that contains executable programs, the majority of which are stored in binary files (thus the name bin). Most programs/applications are found in the directories /bin and /usr/bin.


A miniature, self-contained Linux system on a floppy diskette. These disks are usually only used to boot the system up either for installing Linux or for repairing some problem.

boot loader

A program that loads an operating system into memory upon bootup.


A ROM (read-only memory) routine that is used to load the operating system is known as the bootstrap. This name is derived from the old expression “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.”


Concatenate files and print on the standard output.


This is the command to change directory. cd .. moves you backwards to the next higher subdirectory level; cd / moves you to the highest directory level.


A Linux daemon that periodically checks the contents of a file called /var/lib/crontab and carries out any tasks due to be performed.


A short name for file /var/lib/crontab, which contains a list of Linux commands to be performed at specific times. The fact that the commands are timed means that they occur chronologically, thus the name crontab.


A program that runs in the background, usually performing some essential service. Web servers and FTP servers often run as daemons.

Disk Druid

A disk portioning utility used with Linux.


An e-mail client for Linux.


The native filesystem for Linux that offers long filenames, permissions, error tolerance, and high throughput.


A shell command that will take a process and run it in the foreground.


File Transfer Protocol, which enables a user to transfer files electronically from remote computers back to the user’s computer.


Graphics Image Manipulation Program. A graphics program much like Adobe Photoshop.


GNU Network Object Model Environment. A GUI for Linux.


GNU is not Unix.


The most recent boot loader for Linux.


Linux abbreviation for get regular expression. A grep tool lets you search through a set of text files for a pattern. The item you are looking for is a regular expression.


Graphical user interface. There are a number of GUIs available for Linux. The most popular are KDE and GNOME.

hard boot

A boot initiated by hardware. An example would be pressing the power switch.


A shell command that will list commands the user has previously entered.


The first process to run after the system boots and always has a process ID of 1. It is responsible for starting the system in single-user mode or spawning a shell to read the startup files, and for opening ports that are designated as login ports. init also spawns getty processes for each one.


K Desktop Environment. A commonly used GUI for Linux.


The core of an operating system.


Local area network.


A commonly used boot loader for Linux.


Master boot record, which is the first sector of the disk; this is the sector that the BIOS reads in and starts when the machine is first booted.


This makes a new directory.


Moves or renames files or directories.


A very commonly used Web browser for Linux.

Open Office

An office suite complete with word processor, presentation tools, and spreadsheet tool. It is available as a free download.


A command-line interface where you type in commands. There are a number of shells available, including the Bourne shell, Bourne-again shell (bash), Korn shell, and C shell.


A file compression and decompression utility.

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Moving From Windows to Linux
Moving From Windows To Linux (Charles River Media Networking/Security)
ISBN: 1584502800
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 247
Authors: Chuck Easttom

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