Join Scott Simpson for an in-depth discussion in this video What is the command line?, part of Learn the Linux Command Line: The Basics.
- [Voiceover] We're all familiar with using a computer that has a graphical user interface or GUI, but graphical interfaces aren't really the programs we're using. The programs are running in the background, and they just use the graphical interface to show us information and to allow us to interact with them. In a lot of cases, that's exactly what we want for photo editing, document layout, browsing the web, graphic design, watching movies, and playing games. In the world of software development and system administration, most of the programs we use don't have or don't need a graphical interface.
Servers, utilities, and other programs usually only need some text-based information to do what they do. Many of these programs run on a server somewhere in a data center without a monitor, so the overhead of a graphical interface is completely unnecessary. One way we interact with these programs that don't have or don't use a GUI is through the command line. The command line is a text-based interface where we type commands and direct text-based input and output to the screen, to files, or to other programs. The environment we used is called a shell or a command-line interpreter, and there are many shells out there.
The command-line interpreter was one of the earliest ways of interacting with a general purpose computer, starting in 1971 with the Thompson shell for Unix. As Unix evolved and came to be replaced in many capacities by Linux, the shell environments evolved too. Bash, or the Bourne Again Shell, is one of the most widely-used, and is the one you're likely to need to become familiar with as you begin your command line journey. Bash is the shell that comes enabled by default with most of the popular Linux distributions and with Mac OS X, so we'll be using that throughout the course.
But I encourage you to explore some of the other shells out there once you have a foundation working in Bash.
This course will establish the foundation for more advanced Linux topics. Find other Linux training courses here.
- What is the Linux command line?
- Writing Linux commands at the prompt
- Finding help for Linux commands
- Editing files and folders
- Configuring user roles and file permissions
- Using pipes to connect commands
- Peeking at files
- Searching and editing text
- Finding disk and system information
- Installing and updating software