Technology Tips

Dan Comden

A UNIX command primer for new users

As you may have discovered, there is a lot more to do on a UNIX host computer than just read and respond to electronic mail. You may have already uncovered the utility of services such as ftp, gopher, archie and telnet.

The UNIX system is similar to the PC and Macintosh in that information can be stored in separate areas. On the PC, you use directories. When you first log in to your UNIX host computer, you are in your own directory which may be named something like /w0/myname where "myname" is your login name. This is your very own directory where you can store files that have been retrieved using services like ftp or gopher or e-mail messages you may have exported. You can also create directories in your file area to further organize your information.

Getting Help on UNIX Commands

As arcane and difficult as UNIX commands appear to be, you can always get help on a specific command by using the man (short for manual) command. Just type: man <command> where <command> is the name of the command you wish to investigate. For example, type man pine to get more information about the pine program. If there is more than one page of text, hit the space bar to display the next page. To exit from the name command, press the Q key to quit.

Next month, we'll learn about listing files.