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This tutorial has been deprecated! Please use the new version at LinuxCommand.org


William Shotts, Jr. is the former V.P. of Technical Services for a company that produced scientific image analysis software for legacy operating systems. A Linux user since 1995, he is the creator and administrator of this site. He is also an avid photographer. You can see his work here.

Karen Shotts is the assistant to the president of a real estate investment firm by day and an actress by night. She helps out by checking the spelling and grammar, so if you see any mistakes, it's her fault.

Jogeir Lindseth contributed the floppytools package to the Script library.

Norman Robinson provided invaluable assistance with the SuperMan Pages.

Want to become a Who? Just download the Contributors Kit and get to work. We would love to have you.


Our mission: LinuxCommand.org is a Linux education and advocacy site devoted to helping users of legacy operating systems migrate into the future.

Mailing Lists

LinuxCommand.org Discussion Mailing List Discuss issues of importance to the migrating community. Contribute tips and tricks, ideas for the site.

LinuxCommand.org Announcement Mailing List This list provides announcements of new updates and additions to the site and script library. It's the best way to keep up with the latest developments at LinuxCommand.org.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed IconYou can subscribe to the LinuxCommand.org Site News by using this RSS feed. Note: If you subscribed to this feed prior to November 21, 2008, you will need to update to the new link, as the blog has changed.

Off-Line Reading

Unfortunately, the LinuxCommand.org tutorials are not available in PDF format for off-line viewing. However, the site is available for download in HTML format which you can view with your web browser. You can download the site from the Script Library page.

In addition, the site is formatted for nice printer output if you choose to print it out.


Over the years many people have offered to translate the tutorials into different languages. If you would like to do a translation, that's great! I only ask that you include the copyright notice at the bottom of each page and obey its terms. Also, please let me know about your translation so that I may include a link. At the present time, these are the translations known to me:


From time to time, I review books and other Linux related products. You can read my past reviews in the archive.

Bash And Shell Programming Books

The Linux Command Line

The Linux Command Line by William E. Shotts, Jr.

A companion volume to LinuxComand.org, this book is available for free download in PDF format and in printed form.

A Practical Guide To Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming by Mark G. Sobel

Covers most of the common command line tools available on your Linux system. Makes a good suppliment to the system man pages by providing many helpful examples of common commands. This is a good book for becoming familiar with what the common command line tools are and what they are used for.

Linux Phrasebook by Scott Granneman

This handy, pocket-sized (well, if you have big pockets) book provides a quick reference to many common commands. See my review.

Linux Administration Handbook, Second Edition by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, and Trent R. Hein

A really good reference work covering all of the common issues in system administration. It provides in-depth coverage of a number of underlying technologies that you should know about. Read my review here.

Classic Shell Scripting by Arnold Robbins and Nelson H. F. Beebe

A good treatment of shell programming that covers the common classes of problems that you solve with the shell, particularly text processing. While rather densely written, it would make a good follow-up to my tutorials.

Learning the Bash Shell, Third Edition by Cameron Newham and Bill Rosenblatt

This is another one of the great books from O'Reilly. While this is not a really a book for absolute beginners, it is clearly written and fairly complete.

Wicked Cool Shell Scripts, 101 Scripts for Linux, Mac OS X, and Unix Systems by Dave Taylor

A "cookbook" style presentation of many useful scripts solving common system and web server administration problems. The scripts are a little lightweight for production use, but make good starting points for futher development on your own. Note that this book assumes that you already know a few things about Linux/Unix and the shell.

The AWK Programming Language by Alfred Aho, Brian Kernighan, and Peter Weinberger

AWK is a programming language that is often inserted into shell scripts. The syntax of AWK is very similar to the C programming language in which Linux/Unix and its utilities are written. Learning AWK will make you familiar with concepts that appear in many other programs. This book, written by the original authors of the language, is probably the finest programming book I have ever read. Filled with examples and clear explanations, this book will give you a taste for the power of this useful language. Note that this book is skinny and really expensive, but I think it's well worth it.


Linux/Unix Shell Scripting Sites

Heiner's SHELLdorado

SHELLdorado is a shell scripting education site. It features tutorials on various scripting topics and a large collection of shell scripts and functions.

Bash Reference Manual

Bash Reference Manual from the GNU project. This is an on-line reference manual from the people who wrote bash: the Free Software Foundation.

Bash Guide for Beginners

The Bash Guide for Beginners is a detailed introductory guide to bash and bash scripting. Part of the Linux Documentation Project.


Bash Frequently Asked Questions is a useful list of hints and tips for bash user.


Bash Pitfalls shows common errors that bash users make. When bash dosen't do what you expect it to, check this list out.

Advanced Bash Scripting HOWTO

The Advanced Bash Scripting HOWTO is a detailed look at bash shell programming. A thoughtful treatment with lots of examples and exercises. A good companion piece for the LinuxCommand.org tutorials. Part of the Linux Documentation Project.

Bash Prompt HOWTO

The Bash Prompt HOWTO is a surprisingly interesting discussion of all the things you can make the prompt do. From the Linux Documentation Project.

Hard Core Linux Sites

Linux From Scratch

The Linux From Scratch tutorial will step you through the process of building a complete Linux system from source code.

"From Power Up To Bash Prompt" HOWTO

The From Power Up To Bash Prompt HOWTO tutorial builds a bare system, in a similar way to the "Linux From Scratch" tutorial, but it focuses more on just installing a bootable system instead of a complete system.

General Purpose Linux Sites

Linux Documentation Project

The Linux Documentation Project contains the most important documents for the Linux user. Be sure to check out the many HOWTOs and Guides.


LinuxQuestions.org hosts very active and useful forums for Linux users at all levels or expertise. A good place to ask questions and find answers.

Linux Weekly News

Linux Weekly News is the mature voice of the Linux community. Excellent news coverage and thoughtful commentary. Cool penguin gallery too.

Linux Today

Linux Today lists breaking news events regarding Linux and the open source community.


slashdot.org is the world famous "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." news and discussion site.


freshmeat.net is a site devoted to the latest news on software releases. Updated daily, this site is a great place to find Linux applications.

Linux Magazines

Linux Journal

Linux Journal is a good, fairly technical magazine for experienced Linux users. Worth subscribing to.

Linux Standards

Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard

The Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard describes the standard layout of a Linux system. A good site to visit if you want to learn how and why Linux is organized the way it is.

Linux Standard Base

Linux Standard Base is a project devoted to developing a standard for Linux distributions.

Fighting For Your Freedom

The Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF is working to protect our fundamental rights regardless of technology, to educate the press, policymakers and the general public about civil liberties issues related to technology, and to act as a defender of those liberties.

Software Freedom Law Center

SFLC provides legal representation and other law-related services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software. Founded in 2005, the Center now represents many of the most important and well-established free software and open source projects.

Against Monopoly

Against Monopoly is a blog featuring writings by economists and game theorists opposing various "intelectual property" concepts. Be sure to read the free, downloadable book Against Intellectual Property by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine.

Recommended Stuff


CentOS is a freely available, community supported version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This is a good distribution to use if you want to use Red Hat technology, but unlike Fedora it has longer release cycles. This makes it a good choice for production use.

EmperorLinux, Inc.

EmperorLinux, Inc. sells brand-name laptop computers expertly pre-configured with Linux. I have purchased several systems from them and have been very pleased.


SmoothWall Express is an open source firewall distribution based on the GNU/Linux operating system. SmoothWall includes a hardened subset of the GNU/Linux operating system, so there is no separate OS to install. Designed for ease of use, SmoothWall is configured via a web-based GUI, and requires no knowledge of Linux to install or use.


Cygwin is a Linux-like envronment for that popular legacy OS. You can install this and start writing shell scripts even before you install Linux. It's handy for many file management tasks. I used it extensively to write large scripts on otherwise brain-dead computers. Try it. You'll like it.

video player

Miro is a multi-platform video podcast feed aggregator. With it, you can watch thousands of channels of free Internet TV. I've written a brief review.

© 2000-2017, William E. Shotts, Jr. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this copyright notice is preserved.

Linux® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.