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What is the command line? An introduction to the interface at the heart of Linux & Unix systems.

What is the Command Line?

Here’s part the second of our ongoing introduction to Linux computing, What is the Command Line?

OK now you have a Linux computer, and you are ready to make it do your bidding! We’re going to cover how to send commands to your Linux machine using the command line – you know, a line where you send commands!

In order to start typing those commands (list files! print this one out! open the web browser!) you will use a shell – a shell is a little like the Finder on Macs, or the desktop Explorer on windows but is not graphical – it uses only TEXT.

A shell is a program with a command-line interface which you talk to with a terminal. Terminals are software or hardware that let you send text back and forth to a computer. Shells offer a very specific kind of command line, but what we mean in general by that term is an interface where a user types commands and the computer responds.

(If you missed part one, What is this “Linux”, anyhow?, you probably want to start there. And stay tuned – more to come shortly.)


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