Exploring the System

With these few key skills in hand, you're ready to start exploring your Unix system. In doing so, you can quickly get an idea of what's available and gain some useful experience in entering commands.

Think of your Unix system as being a thoroughly kid-proofed house: You can look around and touch some stuff, but you can't do anything to hurt yourself or the system. So, don't worry! You can't hurt anything by looking around, and even if you tried to break something, most Unix systems are configured well enough that you couldn't.

Table 1.1 shows some of the directories you're likely to find most interesting or useful (Appendix B of this book provides a more comprehensive list of directories). You can use the following steps to get started exploring.

Table 1.1. Common Unix Directories and Their Contents




Essential programs and commands for use by all users


System configuration files and global settings


Home directories for users


Programs and commands needed for system boot


Temporary files


Commands and programs that are less central to basic Unix system functionality than those in /bin but were installed with the system


Most files and data that were developed or customized on the system


Locally-developed or installed programs


Manual (help) pages for local programs


Manual (help) pages


Changeable data, including system logs, temporary data from programs, and user mail storage

To explore locally installed programs:


cd /usr/bin

Change to /usr/bin, which is where most installed programs are.


ls | more

List the files (which will be programs, in this example) and pipe the output to more so you can read the names one screen at a time.



Type the name of any program you want to run; ssh, in this case, allows you to connect to another system and use it just as you're using your Unix system now.


  • You can type man followed by a command name to learn more about Unix programs. See the next section for information about Unix help.

Unix(c) Visual Quickstart Guide
UNIX, Third Edition
ISBN: 0321442458
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 251

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