Learning linux commands for beginners

What about Linux commands? Is there any easy to read reference site / book for Unix / Linux commands. When I try the man or help command I am swamp with every option under the Sun. I just want a sample of the command and maybe some most used options. Maybe I need a Linux for Dummies book? :nerd_face:


i remember having this exact same question when i first started trying to come to a better understanding of how to use a terminal. one of the first recommendations i came across was the linux command line, but that felt like too much for my beginner brain to comprehend. i think i probably still have a (99% unread) copy floating around on a hard drive here somewhere :slight_smile:

one of the recommendations i have seen a few times on reddit is linuxjourney.com. i think i looked around for a little while the first time i read about it. i haven’t used it extensively, but it does look like a well put together resource. i had also read about terminus on reddit. it is styled after text-based adventure games from days of yore. that one i did play for quite some time. in the end it didn’t teach me a lot of commands, but got me used to typing the same commands frequently which is something i have learned to do on my own system as i grow more comfortable with the command line.

@easyt50 any objection to me shifting our two posts over to the linux command line category? i think this might be a question that others would be interested in and feel like it might be buried a bit here under a scripting thread :slight_smile:



No problem, shift me over there.


were there any commands you were looking at recently that you had questions about?

Oh gee, there been a few. move (mv), delete (rm and rmdir). rmdir would not work b/c the directory was not empty. Those were the recent ones. And I had problems with mount, but I believe I got that one figured out. But the real frustration has been with the man and help commands. It fills up the screen and overflows, shows every possible option w/o any examples. I been getting around my lack of knowledge of the commands by (I will get replies not to do this) by opening directories in the GUI interface as root or logging on as root. I know Linux people say don’t use root. I’ve been around computers since 1970 and was a Systems Programmer for a corporation. So yes, I know to be careful.

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quite agreed that man pages can be overwhelming especially in regards to the lack of examples or context. one of the resources i have used to try and begin to get a better handle on some commands is using an rss reader on my phone to get feeds from sites like linuxtoday.com. i like the rss feed version because it simplifies the interface into just titles instead of a whole browser screen full of possible reading options. i don’t know if there is a proper term for what linuxtoday does, but i have always regarded it as an aggregator of sites and articles about linux. i may have even run across my first itsfoss.com article there or on some similar site.

even if reading on a phone or rss readers aren’t your thing, i think the site can still be helpful for what you are asking about. looking at the site just now, i see plenty of articles about things i don’t understand in the least or am not interested in. after i scrolled down about a page, i saw the simple title: linux head command. i’m not familiar with that one so i thought i would take a look.

clicking on the title takes me to a second linuxtoday page located at: https://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/linux-head-command-190422160022.html. there isn’t much of the article itself there, but on the left is a link to Complete Story that will then take you to the story on linuxize.com. there you get a bit more of an idea what the command does and how to use the options. the articles aren’t always super in depth or sometimes even useful to me, but i often try out the commands just to get a feel for them.

of course linuxize has plenty of articles as well. linuxtoday is just how i get a variety of articles from all kinds of different sources :slight_smile:

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@easyt50 I found this video extremely helpful. It’s a couple years old but all the commands are still pretty much relevant today. :slight_smile:



I found this tutorial helpful: Linux essentials (LPI)
Since it’s in german, it may not quite be suited for @easyt50, but as I took the exam (on the last LinuxTAG in Berlin 2014, Oh, glory days…) this was very helpful.
Maybe some other geman dudes here may find it helpful though.

I found this on the same topic. They have some LPI training material in the downloads section, maybe it helps.

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You can get a list of commands and their descriptions on this site:

and after know the command you need, you can view some examples, for example, in this book already mentioned by @01101111:


Personally, I think a lot of people think they need to know everything about Linux when they move across to it. It is my opinion that you really don’t need to do so and should first learn the OS you use then wander else where.
If you really want to learn stuff then Linux for Dummies is a good place to start as it gives a basic introduction into things.
The number of times I have personally used a command line I can count on one finger. Just get on and use whatever you are using and then once you have learn more if you want to do so.
As I state this is just a personal opinion. However too much knowledge is as bad as too little knowledge, as the saying goes


Sat on my desk is a copy of

I bought my copy several years back and has loads of notes in now would not be without it
But edition 2 is better than 3 at describing commands
They have a range of books for all at

No connection just a user who likes what they offer !


Help inside of Linux, is not suitable neither for advanced users …
is crap help of beginners.Fill all screen, 90 % useless in practice.
I find for you a site for teach about commands in Linux, have one
section for each. Such : Tutorial one, two, three etc…
If it was usefull for you, then mark as solved :grin:



Here are two links from a similar discussion. Well-organized cheat sheets are, for me, the best way to go. Check these out:

I think it makes sense to only learn the tasks you need to do. Then, when finding out how to do it, you will stumble across other cool commands.


This cheat sheet was quite good:

and this from its author, Jason Cannon:
You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule: Put simply, it states that roughly 80% of the results for any event come from 20% of the causes…
In other words, of all the possible Linux commands (and there are literally 1000+!), you really only need to use a small percentage.
I developed this list after realizing that there are only about 100 commands I ever use… and even fewer that I use on a daily basis!
This cheat sheet can save you hours of time and stress. Download your copy, print it out (if you’re a hard-copy type), and keep it close at hand.
Based on the 10,000+ people who have already downloaded it, I know you’re going to find it very useful.


one other place i get some solid info about commands that work specifically for my distribution is the support forum. the one i go to for bodhi is over at linuxquestions. i know there is one there for mint as well. from time to time looking for ubuntu-based answers, i have found hints at the (official? it looks so to me) linux mint forum.

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Yes, you might be right about wanting to learn too much too soon, but spending 1/2 hour or more trying to do one command, not understanding the error message, and in Windows it seem so easy, it gets a little frustrating. You try help or man and it does not make sense.
Maybe I was trying to run, before I could walk in testing out a recovery method I thought of for the root partition.
With the help your and these responses, I am sure I will find what I am looking for.

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I was kinda spoiled - as a Solaris sysadmin - the man pages had “decent” real world examples for nearly EVERY command in their man pages - right at the bottom just before the footer…

Sure - Solaris was a bit “bitsy” e.g. not every Solaris install even had “less” (so you had to use “more” by default as your pager [e.g. “export PAGER=more”] for man pages - i.e. you couldn’t scroll back up)… and I even came across Solaris boxes where some ABSOLUTE MORON had deleted all the man pages to free up space!

But it was really great to have examples (nearly all of them used fubar and foo bar type examples) - and it kinda spoiled me…

I’ve seen something “recently” (i.e. last 2-3 years) where there was some kinda console/cli wiki thing you could install and use on the CLI instead of man pages… but I can’t remember any of the details… I actually find google a better source for real world examples than any of the man pages in GNU/Linux or BSD…


Thank you, one and All! I have my homework to do. Looks like lots of good suggestion. I will need a week or more just to read up / look into each one. Talk about support. Man, I glad I found this board. Not only for the helpful info, but for the also the kind people. Again Thanks!


“bropages” was the thing I was thinking of…

You need ruby to make it work :

Ubuntu :

sudo apt install ruby-full
sudo gem install bropages
bro find 

23 entries for find -- submit your own example with "bro add find"

# Executes a command on the files and folders matching a given pattern, in this case, 
output the last lines of each .foo file in the current
folder and subfolders. 
find . -name "*.foo" -exec tail {} \;

    bro thanks      to upvote (64)
    bro ...no       to downvote (0)


 # Outputs all the file names/paths that start with the name "Casey".  Searches recursively 
starting from my current directory (.)
# Throws out any error output by sending it to /dev/null 
find . -name "Casey*" 2>/dev/null

    bro thanks 2    to upvote (38)
    bro ...no 2     to downvote (0)


# Finds all files in and under the current directory that contain 'foo' in their name
find . -iname '*foo*'

    bro thanks 3    to upvote (28)