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Appendix B. A Comparison of Common DOS and Linux Commands

Many Linux commands typed at a shell prompt are similar to the commands you would type in MS-DOS. In fact, some commands are identical.

DOS and Linux Commands

This appendix provides common commands used at the MS-DOS prompt in Windows 9x and their counterparts in Linux. Basic examples of how the command are used at the Linux shell prompt are also provided. Note that these commands usually have a number of options. To learn more about each command, read its associated man page (for example, type man ls at the shell prompt to read about the ls command).

Table B-1. Similar Commands

Command's Purpose

MS-DOS

Linux

Basic Linux Example

Copies files

copy

cp

cp thisfile.txt /home/thisdirectory

Moves files

move

mv

mv thisfile.txt /home/thisdirectory

Lists files

dir

ls

ls

Clears screen

cls

clear

clear

Closes prompt window

exit

exit

exit

Displays or sets date

date

date

date

Deletes files

del

rm

rm thisfile.txt

"Echoes" output on the screen

echo

echo

echo this message

Edits files with simple text editor

edit

pico[a]

pico thisfile.txt

Compares the contents of files

fc

diff

diff file1 file2

Finds a string of text in a file

find

grep

grep this word or phrase thisfile.txt

Formats a diskette

format a: (if diskette is in A:)

mke2fs (or mformat[b])

/sbin/mke2fs /dev/fd0 (/dev/fd0 is the Linux equivalent of A:)

Displays command help

command /?

man[c]

man command

Creates a directory

mkdir

mkdir

mkdir directory

View a file

more

less[d]

less thisfile.txt

Renames a file

ren

mv

mv thisfile.txt thatfile.txt[e]

Displays your location in the file system

chdir

pwd

pwd

Changes directories with a specified path (absolute path)

cd pathname

cd pathname

cd /directory/directory

Changes directories with a relative path

cd ..

cd ..

cd ..

Displays the time

time

date

date

Shows amount of RAM and use

mem

free

free

Notes:
a. Pico is a simple text editor; other editors you can use in place of Pico include Emacs and vi.
b. This formats a disk for the DOS filesystem.
c. You can also use info for some commands.
d. The more pager can also be used to page through a file a screen at a time.
e. The mv command can both move a file and, if you want to rename a file in the same directory, you "move" that file to the same directory with a new name, as in this example.

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