What's this?

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

Delete that bloated snippets file you've been using and share your personal repository with the world. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

Get involved!

You can sign-in using OpenID credentials, or register a traditional username and password.

First-time OpenID users will be automatically assigned a username which can be changed after signing in.

Universal configuration monitoring and system of record for IT.

Stay in the loop…

Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.

» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu3
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu10

Subscribe to the feeds.

Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

Subscribe to the feed for:



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!

Top Tags



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

All commands from sorted by
Terminal - All commands - 12,407 results
some_very_long_and_complex_command # label
2009-09-08 05:58:27
User: jamolkhon

When using reverse-i-search you have to type some part of the command that you want to retrieve. However, if the command is very complex it might be difficult to recall the parts that will uniquely identify this command. Using the above trick it's possible to label your commands and access them easily by pressing ^R and typing the label (should be short and descriptive).


One might suggest using aliases. But in that case it would be difficult to change some parts of the command (such as options, file/directory names, etc).

file -i <textfile>
2009-09-08 01:33:19
User: juvenn
Functions: file

This command gives you the charset of a text file, which would be handy if you have no idea of the encoding.

curl -u username:password --silent "https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom" | tr -d '\n' | awk -F '<entry>' '{for (i=2; i<=NF; i++) {print $i}}' | sed -n "s/<title>\(.*\)<\/title.*name>\(.*\)<\/name>.*/\2 - \1/p"
2009-09-07 21:56:40
User: postrational
Functions: awk sed tr

Checks the Gmail ATOM feed for your account, parses it and outputs a list of unread messages.

For some reason sed gets stuck on OS X, so here's a Perl version for the Mac:

curl -u username:password --silent "https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom" | tr -d '\n' | awk -F '<entry>' '{for (i=2; i<=NF; i++) {print $i}}' | perl -pe 's/^<title>(.*)<\/title>.*<name>(.*)<\/name>.*$/$2 - $1/'

If you want to see the name of the last person, who added a message to the conversation, change the greediness of the operators like this:

curl -u username:password --silent "https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom" | tr -d '\n' | awk -F '<entry>' '{for (i=2; i<=NF; i++) {print $i}}' | perl -pe 's/^<title>(.*)<\/title>.*?<name>(.*?)<\/name>.*$/$2 - $1/'
cat testfile | hexdump -C
tar czf /path/archive_of_foo.`date -I`.tgz /path/foo
2009-09-07 05:45:33
Functions: tar
Tags: backup tar

creates a compressed tar archive of files in /path/foo and writes to a timestamped filename in /path.

tar --create --file /path/$HOSTNAME-my_name_file-$(date -I).tar.gz --atime-preserve -p -P --same-owner -z /path/
2009-09-07 04:52:12
User: Odin_sv
Functions: date tar
Tags: backup tar

Use tar command for a backup info with a date of creation

psg() { ps aux | grep "[${1[1]}]${1[2,-1]}"; }
2009-09-07 04:37:11
User: jedahan
Functions: grep ps

alias ps?='psg' for maximum hawtness. Works in bash or zsh.

fuser -k `who -u | awk '$6 == "old" { print "/dev/"$2'}`
2009-09-07 03:36:43
User: lbonanomi
Functions: awk fuser
Tags: Linux solaris

Shell timeout variables (TMOUT) can be very liberal about what is classified as 'activity', like having an editor open. This command string will terminate the login shell for an user with more than a day's idle time.

pkg search SEARCH_TERM | awk '{print $NF}' | sed -e 's;.*/\(.*\)\@.*;\1;' | sort -u
system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType | perl -nl -e [email protected]=<>; [email protected]; while($j<$c){ $apps[$i].=$al[$j]; $i++ if ($al[$j] ) =~ /^\s\s\s\s\S.*:$/; $j++} while($k<$i){ $_=$apps[$k++]; if (/Kind: PowerPC/s) {print;}}'
2009-09-06 20:56:48
User: drewk
Functions: perl
Tags: Os X perl

This finds all the PowerPC apps recognized by OS X.

A better version is:

system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType 2> /dev/null | perl -

wnl -e '$i=$j=$k=$p=0; @al=; [email protected]; while($j

s[$i].=$al[$j]; $i++ if ($al[$j]) =~ /^\s\s\s\s\S.*:$/; $j++} while($k

apps[$k++]; if (/Kind: PowerPC/s) {print; $p++;}} print "$i applications, $p P

owerPC applications\n\n"'

but that is more than 255 characters...

find . -name '*.html' -exec 'sed' 's/.*class="\([^"]*\?\)".*/\1/ip;d' '{}' ';' |sort -su
2009-09-06 18:43:18
User: kamathln
Functions: find sort

Lists out all classes used in all *.html files in the currect directory. usefull for checking if you have left out any style definitions, or accidentally given a different name than you intended. ( I have an ugly habit of accidentally substituting camelCase instead of using under_scores: i would name soemthing counterBox instead of counter_box)

WARNING: assumes you give classnames in between double quotes, and that you apply only one class per element.

find . -regex '.*\(h\|cpp\)'
2009-09-06 11:33:19
User: Vereb
Functions: find
Tags: bash find

This is the way how you can find header and cpp files in the same time.

prev=0;next=1;echo $prev;while(true);do echo $next;sum=$(($prev+$next));prev=$next;next=$sum;sleep 1;done
while [ -n "`pgrep wget`" ]; do sleep 2 ;done; [ -e "/tmp/nosleep"] || echo mem >/sys/power/state
2009-09-06 05:51:20
User: kamathln
Functions: echo sleep

[Note: This command needs to be run as root].

If you are downloading something large at night, you can start wget as a normal user and issue the above command as root. When the download is done, the computer will automatically go to sleep. If at any time you feel the computer should not go to sleep automatically(like if you find the download still continuing in the morning), just create an empty file called nosleep in /tmp directory.

curl -Is slashdot.org | sed -ne '/^X-[FBL]/s/^X-//p'
awk 'BEGIN {a=1;b=1;for(i=0;i<'${NUM}';i++){print a;c=a+b;a=b;b=c}}'
2009-09-06 03:05:55
User: arcege
Functions: awk
Tags: awk

Does not require input to function or complete. Number of iterations controlled by shell variable $NUM.

2009-09-05 18:01:32
User: tobiasboon
Tags: firefox

This is really not cli but I think it's neat.

alias ':q'='exit'
2009-09-05 17:59:50
User: tobiasboon
Functions: alias
Tags: vim alias exit :q

Put this in your ~/.bashrc file (or the equivalent)

If you use vim a lot, this alias will be immediately obvious. Your brain will thank you.

<ctrl-f> in ex mode in vim
2009-09-05 14:43:15
User: Vereb
Functions: ex
Tags: vim

If you are in ex mode in vim i.e. you've pressed ':'. You can edit the current command by pressing <ctrl-f>

lspci -v | perl -ne '/VGA/../^$/ and /VGA|Kern/ and print'
grep -oE "ssid=\".*\"" /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf | cut -c6- | sed s/\"//g | zenity --list --title="Choose Access Point" --column="SSID"
2009-09-05 10:41:05
Functions: cut grep sed

If you still connect to your wireless access point manually and need to use wpa_supplicant, the above fu will grep all of the known SSID from your wpa_supplicant.conf file, present it in a Zenity list and return the SSID name you choose. I've wrapped this command in to a bash script that then up's the interface, associates and autenticates. Saves me from using NetworkManager ;)

dd if=/dev/cdrom of=whatever.iso
2009-09-05 09:19:41
User: 0disse0
Functions: dd
Tags: backup dd iso dvd

A dear friend of mine asked me how do I copy a DVD to your hard drive? If you want to make a copy of the ISO image that was burned to a CD or DVD, insert that medium into your CD/DVD drive and (assuming /dev/cdrom is associated with your computer?s CD drive) type the following command

sudo dd if=/dev/hda1 of=/dev/hdb2
2009-09-05 09:16:52
User: 0disse0
Functions: dd sudo

This command clone the first partition of the primary master IDE drive to the second partition

of the primary slave IDE drive (!!! back up all data before trying anything like this !!!)

od -vt x1 /tmp/spaghettifile
sudo mknod /dev/ttyS4 c 4 68
2009-09-05 09:12:44
User: 0disse0
Functions: c++ mknod sudo
Tags: serial mknod tty

When you need to add another tty device that can automatically start at boot time