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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CLI: 1.5 - Unix vs. Windows / Navigation cmds.


I suggest that readers of this series who are new but serious about developing for open-source have a Linux computer at their disposal, preferably Ubuntu 12.04, the latest release.  You should download it at http://www.ubuntu.com/.  

The command line, as mentioned before, is a very versatile tool, making tasks that GUI alone can't accomplish. Despite the convenience of the GUI, as it's flavorful and gorgeous to stare at, to drag and drop, it has limitations that make the command line look like a giant.  For instance, can you try deleting pictures from your computer by the prime numbers with click alone when you had about a thousand of them?  Pretty hard.  I see the command line like a window to the computer's brain, a good one-on-one conversation. 


Let's compare the structure of Unix, the framework that underlies Linux, and Windows.  They're similar in that both have a tree-like branching of directories known as the hierarchical directory structure, but whereas Windows has different trees sprouting from different hard drives, Unix has a single tree regardless of storage devices present.  In other words, if Windows was a tree with trees as branches, Unix has real branches!  In the roots that span the ground of the Unix tree is the root directory, the folder that contains the system literally.  Hence, the structure of Unix is not only primitive but also rock solid, like an enduring classic!

Before we embark, understand this basic syntax of the Linux CLI.
command -option arguments

To navigate files with the CLI, these commands are the most widely used.  
  • ls - list the contents of  the working directory.
  • cd - change to another directory.
  • pwd - show current working directory.
Tomorrow, I'll talk briefly about ls.  Prepare to get a close hands-on!  



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