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commandlinefu.com is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again.

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May 19, 2015 - A Look At The New Commandlinefu
I've put together a short writeup on what kind of newness you can expect from the next iteration of clfu. Check it out here.
March 2, 2015 - New Management
I'm Jon, I'll be maintaining and improving clfu. Thanks to David for building such a great resource!

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Psst. Open beta.

Wow, didn't really expect you to read this far down. The latest iteration of the site is in open beta. It's a gentle open beta-- not in prime-time just yet. It's being hosted over at UpGuard (link) and you are more than welcome to give it a shot. Couple things:

  • » The open beta is running a copy of the database that will not carry over to the final version. Don't post anything you don't mind losing.
  • » If you wish to use your user account, you will probably need to reset your password.
Your feedback is appreciated via the form on the beta page. Thanks! -Jon & CLFU Team

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Terminal - All commands - 12,362 results
alias pst='pstree -Alpha'
2009-03-20 10:53:37
User: Alexander
Functions: alias
Tags: Linux

By 'pst' you can print out process tree with all details about all processes (including a command line, PID, and the current process you are running in).

By 'pst username' you can get an information about processes belonging to the particular user 'username'.

alias ..='cd ..'
2009-03-20 09:57:28
User: eimantas
Functions: alias
Tags: bash unix shell cd

Alias two dots to move to parent directory. Put it into your .bashrc or .profile file.

$mkdir mydir -> mv !$ yourdir -> $cd !$
if [ "${vote}" = "down" ]; then echo leave comment; fi
2009-03-20 00:31:13
Functions: echo

I think it would be wise if anyone voting down left a comment indicating the reason for that action. Don't keep it to yourself. Thanks.

cmp -l file1.bin file2.bin | wc -l
( IFS=:; for p in $PATH; do echo $p; done )
2009-03-19 22:45:47
User: haivu
Functions: echo
Tags: bash

The output of "echo $PATH" is hard to read, this is much easier. The parentheses ensure that the change to the input field separator (IFS) only happens the the sub shell and not affecting the current shell.

PLAYLIST=$(ls -1) ; mpg123 -C $PLAYLIST
2009-03-19 17:20:28
Functions: ls mpg123

On my music directory, I create variable that contains all mp3s files, then I play them with mpg123. -C options enable terminal control key, s for stop, p for pause, f for forward to next song.

echo 'loginname ALL=(ALL) ALL' >> /etc/sudoers
2009-03-19 13:23:43
User: refrax
Functions: echo

I am new to linux, and I was trying to figure out why I could not sudo with my username in Fedora 10. This command, when run as root, will add a line to the sudoers file allowing the loginname supplied to sudo. The above line will require a password when you sudo, if you wish to sudo without password, use:

echo 'loginname ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL' >> /etc/sudoers

instead. you have to run this command as su, and this is just an easier way of using visudo, just adds it right from the terminal.

# wc -l /var/log/security/writable.today
2009-03-19 12:25:52
User: mpb
Functions: wc

Mandriva Linux includes a security tool called "msec" (configurable via "draksec").

One of the many things it regularily checks for is world writeable files.

If any are found, it writes the list to /var/log/security/writable.today.

"wc -l" simply counts the number of lines in the file.

This number should be low.

Browse through /var/log/security/writable.today and consider if any of those files *need* to be world-writeable (and if not, modify the permissions. eg: "chmod o-w $file").

A large number of world-writeable files may indicate that umask is not correctly set in /etc/profile (or ${HOME}/.bash_profile) but could also indicate poor security configuration or even malicious activity.

history | perl -lane '$lsize{$_} = scalar(@F); if($longest<$lsize{$_}) { $longest = $lsize{$_}; print "$_"; };' | tail -n1
vi ~/journal/$(date +%F)
2009-03-18 23:31:13
User: ar
Functions: date vi


mkdir ~/journal
export PS1='\[\033[0;35m\]\h\[\033[0;33m\] \w\[\033[00m\]: '
2009-03-18 22:05:48
User: kamiller
Functions: export
Tags: color prompt

It colors the machine name and current directory different colors for easy viewing.

eject -x 4
2009-03-18 16:25:11
User: mrttlemonde
Functions: eject

Decreasing the cdrom device speed may be more comfortable to watch films (for example)

echo "- - -" > /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/scan
2009-03-18 15:26:42
User: angrox
Functions: echo

Issues a scan command on the given scsi host adapter (ex. a fibre channel adapter, in the example above on host0). Output can be watched in the messages log or in "dmesg"

rpm -qa --queryformat "%{NAME} %{ARCH}\n"
2009-03-18 15:19:21
User: angrox
Functions: rpm

Lists all installed RPM packages with name and architecture, which is useful to check for compability packages (+ required i386 packages) on a 64bit system.

^[c (ctrl-v esc-c)
2009-03-18 15:15:24
User: angrox

Resets a scrambled terminal into its orignal state.

echo '123/7' |bc -l |xargs printf "%.3f\n"
exiv2 -M"set Exif.Photo.DateTimeOriginal `date "+%Y:%m:%d %H:%M:%S"`" filename.jpg
ssh-keygen; ssh-copy-id [email protected]; ssh [email protected]
2009-03-18 07:59:33
User: bwoodacre
Functions: ssh ssh-keygen
Tags: openssh

This command sequence allows simple setup of (gasp!) password-less SSH logins. Be careful, as if you already have an SSH keypair in your ~/.ssh directory on the local machine, there is a possibility ssh-keygen may overwrite them. ssh-copy-id copies the public key to the remote host and appends it to the remote account's ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file. When trying ssh, if you used no passphrase for your key, the remote shell appears soon after invoking ssh [email protected]

ssh [email protected] "cd targetdir; tar cfp - *" | dd of=file.tar
2009-03-18 07:43:22
User: bwoodacre
Functions: dd ssh

This invokes tar on the remote machine and pipes the resulting tarfile over the network using ssh and is saved on the local machine. This is useful for making a one-off backup of a directory tree with zero storage overhead on the source. Variations on this include using compression on the source by using 'tar cfvp' or compression at the destination via

ssh [email protected] "cd dir; tar cfp - *" | gzip - > file.tar.gz
for file in `find . -type f`; do cat $file; done | wc -l
echo -n 'text to be encrypted' | openssl md5
2009-03-18 00:11:46
User: Zenexer
Functions: echo

Thanks to OpenSSL, you can quickly and easily generate MD5 hashes for your passwords.

Alternative (thanks to linuxrawkstar and atoponce):

echo -n 'text to be encrypted' | md5sum -

Note that the above method does not utlise OpenSSL.

2009-03-18 00:03:42
User: Zenexer
Functions: top

A simple but effective replacement for ps aux. I used to waste my time running ps over and over; top is the way to go. It also allows complex sorting options. Press q to exit "nicely" (Ctrl + C is always an option, of course). Note that the list updates each second, resorting in the process; if you're trying to grab a specific PID, you might be better off with ps.


Alternatively, htop is available, though it may not come pre-installed. htop is slightly more interactive than top and includes color coding, visuals, and a nice interface for selecting and then killing processes. (Thanks to bwoodacre for this great tool.)