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Common Commands

Some common commands that I can't always remember, but may also be helpful to anyone running linux.


You can type help, but it seems to be generally useless. You gotta know the commands. 

  • ls -alF: like dir on DOS.
  • man command - manual pages for command
  • tail -n XX filename - the last XX lines of filename. main log is stored at /var/log
  • head filename - first XX lines of filename
  • ps -A - to see all processes by all users (-a for all by your user, without subcommand to get just your shell). use ps -aux to list all the running processes. ps pid where pid is the Process ID (found using the previous command, you get additional useless info).
  • kill XXX - to kill a process. to get a process ID (XXX), look in /var/run or run ps -A. /etc/rc.d/init.d has startup and stop scripts (for RedHat). Or kill pid. Or kill -f pid.

Problems?: See the /var/log/messages file. Use tail -n XX /var/log/messages to see the last XX lines of the logfile. I've also setup an alias command for logtail and loghead for 25 lines each.

Managing Users and Groups

  • id username - shows info on the username including groups, etc.
  • groups username - shows info on the groups belonging to. similar to id
  • useradd, userdel, usermod - manages users
  • groupadd, groupdel, groupmod - manages groups
  • passwd - update a user's authentication token(s)
  • last - shows the last X users logged into the server; can use last -f <filename> to see others previous. lastb shows the last bad login attempts (if setup).

Managing Applications: Install, Uninstall, Add, Remove, Update Programs, Apps

RPM and YUM are the tools.

Install packages using YUM (command cheatsheet) | Yum and RPM Tricks | Install RPM Packages Using YUM | 

  • list: yum list | grep searchterm
  • install: yum install pkg-name

VI/VIM Commands

  • :help - open help file (Ctrl-] to surf; Ctrl-T or -O to go back); :q to close help file and return to editor
  • :w - write
  • :q - quit; :q! quit without saving
  • :wq - write and quit
  • u - undo
  • Ctrl-R or :red - redo
  • /pattern - highlight all matching pattern (regex)
  • /pattern/x - jump to xth match
  • / - move to next match
  • ? - move to previous match
  • :[range]s/pattern/string/[g][c] - replace pattern with string; g is global; c requires confirmation; a range of 1,$ will do whole file
  • i - insert (before cursor)
  • a - append (after cursor)
  • x - delete character
  • dd - delete line
  • . - repeat command
  • N yy - yank N lines into register
  • :reg - shows registers

VIM Configurations:

First my success steps. Below that, the issues I ran into getting there.

My preferences:

  • colorscheme: vividchalk
  • tab stop of 4 char


  • user directory ~/.vimrc (contains colors, syntax, and plugin directories
  • Script for quick switching of colors (note: doesn't get the user colors)
  • can't find a comment method for .vimrc file

My .vimrc file:

  • syntax enable
  • colorscheme vividchalk
  • set tabstop=4
  • source ~/.vim/plugin/setcolors.vim


Short story: make sure that vim-enhanced is installed

  • Syntax Color - I struggled and struggled to get colors working. I read all sorts of things, most the same (the .vimrc commands above). I tried all the extra commands to no avail. I never really saw the suggestion that you need to make sure have have vim-enhanced installed; vim-minimal is not enough. And there are dependencies, of course. I figured it out using "rpm -qa | grep vim" command which showed only vim-minimal. Installed errored out on dependencies and once those were installed, it all worked solid.
  • VIM location: I found that whereis and which didn't give expected results. I'd get a pointer to the manual page (and the vim command was showing as vi in /usr/bin, running it showed it was actually vim). What you should see is:
    vim: /usr/bin/vim /usr/share/vim /usr/share/man/man1/vim.1.gz


Part of Findutils: Website | Documentation

Finding and fixing permissions for files/directories:

find . -type f -not -perm 644 | xargs chmod 644
find . -type d -not -perm 755 | xargs chmod 755
chmod 444 mainfile.php

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Comments are solely the opionion of the author and not to be construed as the opinion of anyone else.


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