Commands by z_vet (0)

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What's this? is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again. 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.

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Compare copies of a file with md5

Find out which debian package a command (executable) belongs to on debian-based distros
This revision to my command (command #8851) was called for when it failed to find the parent package of 'rlogin', which is really a deep symbolic link to /usr/bin/ssh. This revision fixes this newfound issue, while ensuring fixes of other older issues work too.

A DESTRUCTIVE command to render a drive unbootable
Overwrites the boot sector. Since this doesn't overwrite any data, you can usually recover by re-creating the partition table exactly the same as before you zeroed it. This can also help sometimes if you install a new drive in a Windows machine which can't read it.

statistics in one line
In this example, file contains five columns where first column is text. Variance is calculated for columns 2 - 5 by using perl module Statistics::Descriptive. There are many more statistical functions available in the module.

Get the 10 biggest files/folders for the current direcotry
This command simply outputs 10 files in human readable, that takes most space on your disk in current directory.

list files recursively by size

GREP a PDF file.
PDF files are simultaneously wonderful and heinous. They are wonderful in being ubiquitous and mostly being cross platform. They are heinous in being very difficult to work with from the command line, search, grep, use only the text inside the PDF, or use outside of proprietary products. xpdf is a wonderful set of PDF tools. It is on many linux distros and can be installed on OS X. While primarily an open PDF viewer for X, xpdf has the tool "pdftotext" that can extract formated or unformatted text from inside a PDF that has text. This text stream can then be further processed by grep or other tool. The '-' after the file name directs output to stdout rather than to a text file the same name as the PDF. Make sure you use version 3.02 of pdftotext or later; earlier versions clipped lines. The lines extracted from a PDF without the "-layout" option are very long. More paragraphs. Use just to test that a pattern exists in the file. With "-layout" the output resembles the lines, but it is not perfect. xpdf is available open source at

fdiff is a 'filtered diff'. Given a text filter and two inputs, will run the filter across the input files and diff the output.
Fdiff will run the command given by the first argument against the input files given as the second and third arguments, and diff the results. It will use 'diff' as the default diff program, but this can be changed by setting $DIFFCMD, e.g. $ export DIFFCMD=vimdiff; $ fdiff zcat 0716_0020005.raw.gz 0716_0030005.raw.gz ... This function will work under bash, but requires the use of command substitution, which is not available under a strict ANSI shell.

Write a listing of all directories and files on the computer to a compressed file.
This command is meant to be used to make a lightweight backup, for when you want to know which files might be missing or changed, but you don't care about their contents (because you have some way to recover them). Explanation of parts: "ls -RFal /" lists all files in and below the root directory, along with their permissions and some other metadata. I think sudo is necessary to allow ls to read the metadata of certain files. "| gzip" compresses the result, from 177 MB to 16 MB in my case. "> all_files_list.txt.gz" saves the result to a file in the current directory called all_files_list.txt.gz. This name can be changed, of course.

awk date convert
Convert readable date/time with `date` command

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