Linux Quick-Start Guide: Directory

Joseph Syverson
Nov 18, 2019 · 2 min read
From left to right: Linux, Berkley, Windows, Macintosh

The following guide is my personal cheat sheet for running Linux from the command line using a BASh shell. It will hopefully give the new Linux user what they need to get started in a single document. Although it is neither exhaustive nor nuanced, it comprises all of the things I was taught or otherwise put great effort into researching. Note: some commands here are distribution-specific. So, if you’re not using a Debian-based Linux distribution, there may be some variations between the commands listed and those necessary for your distribution.


Accessing the terminal: No need for a separate article here. Hold Ctrl Alt T to access a terminal. To exit a terminal session, type exit and hit Enter. Or hold Ctrl D.

Ask your computer: most questions you have about how to use your computer your computer would answer quickly and efficiently, if you only knew how to ask.

Orienting oneself: as in real life, it’s hard to accomplish a goal without knowing who and where you are.

The file hierarchy: in Linux, everything is either a file or a directory. Your computer is a landscape of files that you can traverse using BASh.

Getting around and changing things: for personal computing, you can program any location on your computer from wherever you’re currently located. But sometimes it’s just easier to go there in person.

Keyboard shortcuts: forego the annoyance of reaching for the mouse with these keyboard shortcuts.

Power tools (forthcoming): Linux has more free software than you’ll ever get a chance to use. Here’s a list of my essential command-line apps and programs.

Deeper views of the system (forthcoming): use these commands for a more profound understanding of your computer’s objects, places and events.

Programming (forthcoming): BASh is a Turing-complete programming language optimized for controlling computers. Combine it with an open source D B M S that you can control directly from your terminal.

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