I'm aiming this article mostly at absolute beginners to Unix, as I feel the guidance resources available for a Windows user switching to Unix on their own are woefully inadequate right now. It's meant to be read after my guide on basic shell use. Note that a lot of my descriptions of the less essential commands refer to concepts I don't expect new users to know about; when I have time I plan to write more about those things, but you can probably find decent explanations with a web search.

There are lots of places that list "the basic" Unix commands, but I've never seen one of those references that lists enough of them to really show how awesome Unix is to someone who hasn't seen it. My eventual goal here is to list almost all the commands I know of, but I'll categorize them, so the reference is still usable. I'm writing this based on experience with FreeBSD, but most of it should apply to any Unix system.

I'll also color-code the commands according to how important they are. Cyan commands are the most essential; blue commands are very common; green are somewhat common; yellow are intermediate commands; and red are advanced commands that are either hard to learn or not used frequently.

Basic filesystem usage

Getting help

More advanced filesystem usage

Text files

Shell utilities

Shell utilities - text

Shell utilities - filepaths

Shell utilities - job control

Process management


Timed command execution

System administration

Hardware and filesystem stuff

Networking - configuration

Unfortunately, configuring networking on a Unix system if it doesn't work out of the box is very hard and frustrating, like any operating system. With any luck it'll work out of the box.

Networking - diagnostics

Networking - use

Non-plain files

User account management

Compiled code files


This page was last modified 2021-10-18 12:32 (UTC).

This site doesn't host comments because that would be against my principles: discussion belongs in a dedicated, decentralized medium like Lemmy (tag me if you start one!).