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More Useful UNIX Shell Commands

NOTE: This Tip Sheet assumes that the reader has a copy of a telnet application like EWAN or NCSA Telnet, and is familiar with its use. If you do not have a telnet application, you can get one several ways. If you are a SkyPoint Macintosh user you can download the standard SkyPoint software package, which includes NCSA Telnet. Windows 95 users have a telnet window already installed. Otherwise, all platform users can access on the Web, do a search for telnet applications, and download one for free.

  • man (command)
    Gives instructions for use of a command.
  • ls -l
    Lists non-hidden files in a directory.
  • ls -a
    Gives a listing of hidden files.
  • cd ~/ftp
    Changes to your ftp directory.
  • cd
    Takes you back to your home directory.
  • rm (filename)
    Erases a file.
  • sz (filename)
    Downloads a file using ZMODEM.
  • rz (filename)
    Uploads a file using ZMODEM.
  • cp (filename) (filename)
    Copies a file to another file.
  • mv (filename) (filename)
    Renames a file.
  • mv (oldfilename) (directory)/(filename)
    Moves a file to another directory and renames it.
  • uuencode (input filename) (remote filename)>(output filename)
    Encodes a file for Email or posting to a News Group. The input filename is the file that you want to uuencode, the remote filename is the default output file that will be written when it is decoded and output file is the filename that will be created on your local machine. It is a good idea to use the extension .uue on the output file.
    Example: uuencode test test>test.uue
  • uudecode (filename)
    Decodes a file received from an Email or News Group.
  • cat (filename1) (filename2) (filename...) > (filename)
    Joins text files together.
    Example: cat test1 test2 test3>test.all


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