How to Learn Linux Commands Online


GNU Linux (sometimes shortened to just Linux) is a free computer operating system first developed in 1991 by programmer Linus Torvalds. Linux operating systems come in different varieties with many features and aims. Linux is similar to the Unix operating system, which makes heavy use of the command line, a way of performing operations on your computer using text. While it is possible to operate Linux without using commands, getting the full Linux experience will require you to learn a few basic commands, at the very least. There are many ways to learn Linux commands using online resources, as outlined below.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer running Linux operating system
  • Internet access
  • Familiarize yourself with Linux if it is your first time using this operating system. For some, Linux will be the first experience with the command line. Use your favorite search engine to discover online tutorials and eBooks to familiarize yourself with the concept of a command line, and what it can be potentially used for. Type keywords such as "Linux commands" or "common Linux commands" and it will provide you with resources to help you get started.

  • Open a command terminal to assist you in your learning. While you are reading about certain commands on the Internet, you may want to use your command terminal to see what the commands can do on your computer. Try different commands to familiarize yourself with their uses, as well as their limitations.

  • Look up the program's man page, a user guide for the command, if you discover a command you are unfamiliar with. There are online resources which list the man page for many programs, but this tutorial can also be accessed by typing "man <command>" in the command line; where it says "<command>" type the command you are curious about.

  • Practice. Even though any operation can be completed using your mouse, make a habit of completing all operations using the command line. Use the online tutorials and eBooks you found earlier to explore the possibilities of your Linux operating system, such as customizing it to your liking or running programs, by using the command line.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful when typing commands into the command terminal, as some commands may cause damage to your operating system. One such example is the command "rm -rf /", which will remove everything in the root folder of your computer.
  • Ensure you are frequently backing up your material, or are testing commands in an environment that will not cause changes to any important documents or programs you may have.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
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