20 Use full Unix Command Line Tricks- !

20 Use full Unix Command Line Tricks- 1L

et us start new year with these Unix command line tricks to increase productivity at the Terminal. I have found them over the years and I'm now going to share with you.

Deleting a HUGE file

I had a huge log file 200GB I need to delete on a production web server. My rm and ls command was crashed and I was afraid that the system to a crawl with huge disk I/O load. To remove a HUGE file, enter:
> /path/to/file.log
# or use the following syntax
: > /path/to/file.log
# finally delete it 
rm /path/to/file.log

Want to cache console output?

Try the script command line utility to create a typescript of everything printed on your terminal.
script my.terminal.session
Type commands:
sudo service foo stop
To exit (to end script session) type exit or logout or press control-D
To view type:
more my.terminal.session
less my.terminal.session
cat my.terminal.session

Restoring deleted /tmp folder

As my journey continues with Linux and Unix shell, I made a few mistakes. I accidentally deleted /tmp folder. To restore it all you have to do is:
mkdir /tmp
chmod 1777 /tmp
chown root:root /tmp
ls -ld /tmp

Locking a directory

For privacy of my data I wanted to lock down /downloads on my file server. So I ran:
chmod 0000 /downloads
The root user can still has access and ls and cd commands will not work. To go back:
chmod 0755 /downloads

Password protecting file in vim text editor

Afraid that root user or someone may snoop into your personal text files? Try password protection to a file in vim, type:
vim +X filename
Or, before quitting in vim use :X vim command to encrypt your file and vim will prompt for a password.

Clear gibberish all over the screen

Just type:

Becoming human

Pass the -h or -H (and other options) command line option to GNU or BSD utilities to get output of command commands like ls, df, du, in human-understandable formats:
ls -lh
# print sizes in human readable format (e.g., 1K 234M 2G)
df -h
df -k
# show output in bytes, KB, MB, or GB
free -b
free -k
free -m
free -g
# print sizes in human readable format (e.g., 1K 234M 2G)
du -h
# get file system perms in human readable format
stat -c %A /boot
# compare human readable numbers
sort -h -a file
# display the CPU information in human readable format on a Linux
lscpu -e
lscpu -e=cpu,node
# Show the  size of each file but in a more human readable way
tree -h
tree -h /boot

Show information about known users in the Linux based system

Just type:
## linux version ##
## BSD version ##
Sample outputs:
  0 root             0        0   22:37:59 root
  1 bin              0        1            bin
  2 daemon           0        1            daemon
  3 adm              0        1            adm
  4 lp               0        1            lp
  5 sync             0        1            sync
  6 shutdown         0        1 2014-Dec17 shutdown
  7 halt             0        1            halt
  8 mail             0        1            mail
 10 uucp             0        1            uucp
 11 operator         0        1            operator
 12 games            0        1            games
 13 gopher           0        1            gopher
 14 ftp              0        1            FTP User
 27 mysql            0        1            MySQL Server
 38 ntp              0        1
 48 apache           0        1            Apache
 68 haldaemon        0        1            HAL daemon
 69 vcsa             0        1            virtual console memory owner
 72 tcpdump          0        1
 74 sshd             0        1            Privilege-separated SSH
 81 dbus             0        1            System message bus
 89 postfix          0        1
 99 nobody           0        1            Nobody
173 abrt             0        1
497 vnstat           0        1            vnStat user
498 nginx            0        1            nginx user
499 saslauth         0        1            "Saslauthd user"

How do I fix mess created by accidentally untarred files in the current dir?

So I accidentally untar a tarball in /var/www/html/ directory instead of /home/projects/www/current. It created mess in /var/www/html/. The easiest way to fix this mess:
cd /var/www/html/
/bin/rm -f "$(tar ztf /path/to/file.tar.gz)"

Confused on a top command output?

Seriously, you need to try out htop instead of top:
sudo htop

Want to run the same command again?

Just type !!. For example:
/myhome/dir/script/name arg1 arg2
# To run the same command again 
## To run the last command again as root user
sudo !!
The !! repeats the most recent command. To run the most recent command beginning with "foo":
# Run the most recent command beginning with "service" as root
sudo !service
The !$ use to run command with the last argument of the most recent command:
# Edit nginx.conf
sudo vi /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
# Test nginx.conf for errors
/sbin/nginx -t -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
# After testing a file with "/sbin/nginx -t -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf", you
# can edit file again with vi
sudo vi !$

Get a reminder you when you have to leave

If you need a reminder to leave your terminal, type the following command:
leave +hhmm
  • hhmm - The time of day is in the form hhmm where hh is a time in hours (on a 12 or 24 hour clock), and mm are minutes. All times are converted to a 12 hour clock, and assumed to be in the next 12 hours.

Home sweet home

Want to go the directory you were just in? Run:
cd -
Need to quickly return to your home directory? Enter:
The variable CDPATH defines the search path for the directory containing directories:
export CDPATH=/var/www:/nas10
Now, instead of typing cd /var/www/html/ I can simply type the following to cd into /var/www/html path:
cd html

Editing a file being viewed with less pager

To edit a file being viewed with less pager, press v. You will have the file for edit under $EDITOR:
less *.c
less foo.html
## Press v to edit file ##
## Quit from editor and you would return to the less pager again ##

List all files or directories on your system

To see all of the directories on your system, run:
find / -type d | less
# List all directories in your $HOME
find $HOME -type d -ls | less
To see all of the files, run:
find / -type f | less
# List all files in your $HOME
find $HOME -type f -ls | less

Build directory trees in a single command

You can create directory trees one at a time using mkdir command by passing the -poption:
mkdir -p /jail/{dev,bin,sbin,etc,usr,lib,lib64}
ls -l /jail/

Copy file into multiple directories

Instead of running:
cp /path/to/file /usr/dir1
cp /path/to/file /var/dir2
cp /path/to/file /nas/dir3
Run the following command to copy file into multiple dirs:
echo /usr/dir1 /var/dir2 /nas/dir3 |  xargs -n 1 cp -v /path/to/file
Creating a shell function is left as an exercise for the reader

Quickly find differences between two directories

The diff command compare files line by line. It can also compare two directories:
ls -l /tmp/r
ls -l /tmp/s
# Compare two folders using diff ##
diff /tmp/r/ /tmp/s/
Fig. : Finding differences between folders
Fig. : Finding differences between folders

Text formatting

You can reformat each paragraph with fmt command. In this example, I'm going to reformat file by wrapping overlong lines and filling short lines:
fmt file.txt
You can also split long lines, but do not refill i.e. wrap overlong lines, but do not fill short lines:
fmt -s file.txt

See the output and write it to a file

Use the tee command as follows to see the output on screen and also write to a log file named my.log:
mycoolapp arg1 arg2 input.file | tee my.log
The tee command ensures that you will see mycoolapp output on on the screen and to a file same time.


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