SBCS-Informatics

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4. Basic Unix Navigation

This section contains some extremely basic commands that you can run while logged onto Apocrita (or in your own Unix terminal if you are a Linux/Mac user.) There are much better guides available online if you want to learn about Linux and the command line. One such is Learn Linux the Hard Way]. That link will take you to one which, although long, could be very useful. Some parts of it are even interactive. IBM has a technical library for Linux as well, it's a bit heavier and set up as several tutorials but very informative.

Where am I?

Files are organised in your allocated server space into folders, or 'directories', just like on your regular computer. You can check your current working directory (i.e. where you are) with the 'print working directory' command, pwd.

Checking the contents of directory

It's easy to check the contents of the directory you're currently in, using the list command, ls. Typing ls alone will list the filenames. However, if you require extra information you can add 'flags' after the command to give the computer further instructions:

ls           #prints filenames in a list
ls -a        #prints all filenames, including hidden files
ls -l        #'long' list, displays info including permissions.
ls -h        #prints the sizes of files in units you can read
ls -tr       #t for time sorted, r for reverse

The above flags (amongst others) can be combined together in one string for convenience. You may use one - (to indicate a flag) followed by all required characters, or separate them individually:

ls -lhatr          #has the same effect as 
ls -l -h -a -t -r

This bit will print a list of files with all of the above information.

Changing directories

Navigate through directories using the 'change directory' command, cd. It will assume you're looking for a directory name that is within your current working directory

Change directory

cd directory_name/

Go back "up" one directory:

cd ../
cd ../../                    #you can go several at a time
cd ../../anthr_dir/subdir2   #as many up and down as you want

Return to home directory

cd ~/

or just

cd

Note: On Mac, it's possible to click and drag the desired location of a directory or file from the finder (by the icon) to the terminal. Just type cd followed by a space, click & drag, hit enter. You can do this from any starting point.

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