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Linux® for Dummies®, 9th Edition by Richard Blum

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Chapter 17. Working without the GUI

In This Chapter

  • Understanding the user shell environment

  • Customizing the bash environment

  • Working with commands

  • Utilizing wildcard expansion

  • Using long commands

  • Tinkering with variables

  • Using redirection and pipes

 

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

 
 --Anonymous

Many computing old-timers speak fondly of the command line. Others who developed their skills by pointing and clicking refer to the command line as some antiquated tool used by crusty old-timers. The truth is that most skilled computing professionals recognize the merits of both the point-and-click graphical user interface (GUI) and the "lots of typing" command-line interface (CLI). You must understand that the command line provides a powerful force for operating your computer. If you ever watch over the shoulder of a skilled Linux geek, you notice that, after logging in, the geek doesn't take long to start tapping out seemingly cryptic instructions by hand.

In this chapter, we explore the Linux program that provides the CLI, which is called the bash shell. Although many shells are available for Linux, bash is the most common, and for good reason. Basically, the creators of bash rolled many good features of other shells into one terrific package.

Each shell has its own way of handling commands and its own additional set of tools. We start by explaining what a shell really is, and when you understand that, you're ready to get down and dirty with bash. We cover specifically what ...

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