Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt?

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scottsational
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Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt?

Postby scottsational » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:05 am

So, far, as of day one on Linux, I am finding it very different and challenging to do very simple tasks I would normally be able to do otherwise on a Mac or Windows computer. I am finding my way around, slowly. Even when it comes to downloading programs. I have can only really navigate the software manager. Downloading from the Internet via packages is a lost cause. A solution that has arisen to solve many of these problems is downloading via the command prompt. It is quick and easy. Though, to do so I blindly copy and paste commands, well not completely blindly but close enough. Even for simple tasks it seems like there is a plethora of methods simply via the command prompt. Just a quick Google search on performing any task on Linux seems to feed me some command prompt method. The real question behind all this is will I ever understand what I am copying and pasting into that prompt? Is it really all that complicated? Will I even get to a point where I know what to type to download a program or do a task just by memory or understanding? And most importantly, if these tasks are foreseeable, how should I go about learning this new found glory in my new adventure of running solely Linux software? I'm betting you'll all redirect me to another thread, and that's all dandy. So, Guru's, what are your answers to my questions?

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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby RETNUH » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:02 am

I'm fairly new to Linux myself(been using Linux since July '11). I have found that while most of the stuff is still foreign I can navigate well enough. It has just kind of slowly come to me. Once you see something enough(or get curious enough to google it) you start to realize what it does. It's kind of like learning a new language.

And you are correct that you're going to get redirected. Go here to get some guides on BASH(think of it as the language most terminals use). Theres a lot to learn!
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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby Teufel9000 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:15 am

Luckydog wrote:I'm fairly new to Linux myself(been using Linux since July '11). I have found that while most of the stuff is still foreign I can navigate well enough. It has just kind of slowly come to me. Once you see something enough(or get curious enough to google it) you start to realize what it does. It's kind of like learning a new language.

And you are correct that you're going to get redirected. Go here to get some guides on BASH(think of it as the language most terminals use). Theres a lot to learn!

i agree with everything he said. i just took a crash course at my college for cmd prompt for windows. was daunting at first but once u learn the commands and understand how it works. ull remember it in no time.

best thing about learning commands is someone most likely already documented what they did, and how to do it. take it piece by piece ull be fine. (im now going start learning myself linux terminals commands for better understanding and maintance )

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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby seppalta » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:30 am

Your question is a good one, especially in the philosophical and psychological sense. Initially, which really was not that long ago, I had some of the same feelings that you have expressed. My hindsight now suggests about 90% of the uneasiness simply occurred because of lack of familiarity, not because of operating system challenges. Many things at the start are strange because they are different from your zone of familiarity, which is probably Windoze. In about a month, or maybe less, if you stick with it, everything will be reversed. It will be Windoze that seems strange, not to mention illogical and clumsy. Just remember all the time you spent with anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware, deceptive and expensive support personal, defragging, removing applications (much more difficult in Windoze), etc - none of which is much of a concern with a Linux system. So you should now think of this time as extra time to learn the new Linux stuff!

You mentioned that everything relies upon the terminal. Not true. I use at least three general tools or modes of operation:
(1) GUI's (familar territory because like Windoze);
(2) Terminal (unfamilar, but only difficult because it requires learning a new language, which just takes time);
(3) Changing or building text files as root that configure or execute something.

I think many install distros leave out a fair number of useful GUI's, probably just to keep the weight down. Do a little duckduckgoing (googling) or ask on this forum. When you find something that looks like it might help, install it. If it doesn't work, remove it - very easy using synaptic package manager. The same applies to (2) and (3). Don't be afraid to experiment or learn by trial-and-error. Just keep a copy of the initial file before editing in case you might want to restart! I have basically recorded my experiences starting from scratch primarily with the LXDE desktop, although a lot applies to other desktops as well, here: http://douwil7.100webspace.net/linux/Tuning.html. Sorry about putting a forward link in! :D

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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby mank_in » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:54 am

If you try to understand the CLI ,you must learn about CLI.
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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby Aging Technogeek » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:43 am

One resource for learning the terminal is the terminal itself. I speak of the manual pages . Open a terminal andenter

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man man


Press enter and you will be presented with the man page entry about the man pages. Interesting reading.

Pretty much every command used in terminal has its own man pages. When ever you are confronted with a command you do not recognise or understand, enter "man" followed by the command to pull up the man page on the command. This is an instant resource for improving your cli skills.

You can also install "cli companion" from Software Manager. This app provides a reference to frequently used cli commands in the terminal window frame. This reference is editable so, as you learn new commands they can be added to the list.
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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby Roken » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:36 am

Familiarity will lead to understanding, much the same as with everything else in life. If you've only ever ridden on a bus, learning to drive a car can be a challenge, too, but most of us get there in the end.

There are reasons that most fixes and tutorials rely on the terminal, by the way. One is that there is no such thing as a "standard" Linux desktop. With so many options for customisation, and so many desktop environments to choose from, the GUI way can differ from system to system, whereas the terminal is a much more common environment meaning that the same commands will probably work regardless of how you have your system set up. It is also much quicker both to list a series of terminal commands and to execute those commands than it is to explain how to navigate around a GUI. For example, to copy a file from one folder in your home folder to another, you can either:

Code: Select all

1. Double click on your desktop icon for home, or if you don't have that, look for the "Places" menu at either the top or bottom of the screen and click "Home" there. If you use a dock rather than a menu there will probably be a places menu included on that, but if not go to the dock configuration utility and find it, add it to your dock and then find "Home on that".
2. In the new window that opens navigate to the folder containing the file that you want to copy.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, but at step 2 find the folder where you want to copy the file to.
4. Drag and drop the file from folder 1 to folder 2.


or you can:

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cp /path/to/foldera/filename /path/to/folderb/
in a terminal.

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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby Habitual » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:01 am

It has been said here twice and I agree 100%. Familiarity.
New things and tools and methods are indeed 'foreign' at first.

I use to cry at College class because the concept of "variables" eluded me.
I didn't get DOS either too quickly, but my Teachers assured me "that it does get easier"

Today it is quite another story, but once I "got it", oh boy! The world got just a little bit brighter.

I took a Community College Certificate Course in 1994 and have been killing Operating Systems ever since.
My 'aha' moment 18 years later still makes me want to "Look under the hood" of every OS.

18 years later and I just spent a week fixing snmp on a Windows server all for 1 check-box!
I must type clear in a DOS Prompt at least once every Windows Session, or Ctrl+L...

Stick with it, Keep notes on what does and doesn't work. Categorize your notes. Backup your notes.
Linux is very much self-service. The groundwork is constant and consistent across all distributions.

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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby iBodhi » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:23 pm

I had a similar query - thanks for this thread. Some great ideas
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conslie
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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby conslie » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:15 am

One thing that will help make those commands make sense and be more easily remembered is just to realize they a short abbreviations for (mostly) understandable commands. cd is short for "make this named directory the current one." ls is "list directory contents." rm is "remove." cp is "copy." chown is "change ownership permissions."

The links above will help make these shorthands easier to learn.

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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby mank_in » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:27 am

conslie wrote:cd is short for "make this named directory the current one

cd short from change directory :)
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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby iBodhi » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:40 am

I've just found a good website:

http://www.linuxcommand.org/

Seems pretty good to understand more about Terminal.
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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby MALsPa » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:30 am

The main thing for me, before running a command that I'm gonna copy and paste into a terminal, I like to check out the command's man page, see what all the options are, figure out what that command is gonna do. If you do that every time, you'll start picking things up rather quickly.

I don't really memorize a bunch of commands. I'll copy and paste, and then I'll call the command back up from bash history.

If you keep at it, the light comes on after awhile and you'll find that you've become quite comfortable at the Linux command line.

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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby xenopeek » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:41 am

Yes, the command line stuff does get easier and you do get to a point of understanding it :wink: That is not the same as memorising it all... I know about the existence of a lot of commands, but whenever I need to use them and I haven't used them for a while, I quickly consult the manpages to refresh my memory. Also, regardless of which Linux desktop environment you are using (Gnome, KDE, XFCE, etc.) 99% of the commands work unchanged from one desktop to another. The same goes for Linux distros, and a lot of the commands you learn also work on UNIX and BSD (they all have manpages also, so again, get into the habit of using the manpages :mrgreen:). So, as you start learning your "tool chest" so to speak, grows and you can take your knowledge with you as you switch to another desktop or distro (not always the case with the GUI).

In addition to the manpages and online tutorials, there are a lot of good books to get more acquainted with the command line. Some like these for example:
Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible, Second Edition
Unix Power Tools, Third Edition

Read the manpages, use the command line often, and it will start to click.
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Re: Will I ever understand the stuff I paste into cmd prompt

Postby Aging Technogeek » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:42 am

For your consideration:

http://www.webupd8.org/2010/09/cli-companion-makes-it-easier-to-use.html. A frame is added around the terminal with an editable, drop down menu of frequently used commands. This is separate from the standard terminal. It is started from Menu=>Accessories=>Cli companion.
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