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UNIX Commands

You use UNIX by typing commands. These are typed after the prompt. If you are dialing in from somewhere or are not using a window system, you just type. If you are using a window system, you type UNIX commands in a terminal-like window. These windows have names like Command Tool, Shell Tool, xterm or dtterm.

There are basically two types of UNIX commands. In one type you ask the computer for information. For example, if you type
the computer will respond by printing a list of your files on the screen.

In the other type of command, you ask the computer to do something. It doesn't necessarily need to print any response. These types of commands usually are asking for something to be done to a file. The basic form of these commands is command filename. These tells the machine to perform the action dictated by command on the file that is called filename. An example is:
rm paper.tex
which deletes the file named paper.tex from the system.

Many UNIX commands have options. These are preceded on the command line by a minus sign -. The basic form is: command -option filename, or just command -option. Two examples are:
rm -i paper.tex

ls -l