To start you on your journey through Unix, we'll take a quick look at a few basic concepts and commands. In this chapter, we'll get you started with basic Unix skills, such as accessing a Unix account, logging in, and listing and viewing files and directories, among other things. We'll also show you how to explore Unix, see its capabilities, and discover just what you can do with it.
This chapter is essential for all Unix guruwannabes. If you're a Unix novice, you should start at the beginning of this chapter and work through each section in sequence. With these basic skills mastered, you can then skip through this book and learn new skills that look useful or interesting to you. If you've used Unix before, you might peruse this chapter to review the basics and dust off any cobwebs you might have.
The skills covered in this chapter apply to any version of Unix you might be using, including Linux, Solaris, or BSD through your local Internet service provider, Solaris, AIX or HPUX at work, your Mac OS X or Linux system at home, CygWin or Unix through VMware or Unix from a bootable CD on your home system, or any other flavor (that's the technical term) you can find. Keep in mind, though, that the exact output and prompts you see on the screen might differ slightly from what is illustrated in this book. The differences probably won't affect the steps you're completing, although you should be aware that differences could exist. (As much as possible, our examples will give you a sample of the diversity of Unix systems.)