Homebreadcumb forward arrow iconBlogbreadcumb forward arrow iconFull Stack Developmentbreadcumb forward arrow iconLinux Tutorial: Linux Command Line for Beginners

Linux Tutorial: Linux Command Line for Beginners

Last updated:
25th Jun, 2023
Read Time
8 Mins
share image icon
In this article
Chevron in toc
View All
Linux Tutorial: Linux Command Line for Beginners

What is Linux?

Linux is an open-source operating system written in computer languages like C and other assembly languages. Our smartphones, cars, home appliances, desktops, refrigerators and even thermostats have run on Linux since the mid-1990s, which has now been globally accepted as a reliable and secure operating system. Operating systems (OS) are essential for any device, and Linux is currently the most popular operating system. 

Linux comprises essential parts necessary to know before learning Linus commands. These are as follows: 

  • Bootloader- A Bootloader is software responsible for booting a PC. A Bootloader is present in the boot section of any storage device, which locates and initiates the operating system on the device.
  • Kernel- Kernel is the key element inside Linux, managing the entire CPU, memory, and other software, working as a core interface. 
  • Init System- The Init system is a subsystem that helps bootstrap user space and controls daemons. In addition, this system is responsible for performing the boot process once initial booting is done and redeemed from the bootloader.
  • Daemons- Daemons are background application services like sound, printing etc., managing the background processes rather than being under the user’s direct control.
  • Graphical Server- Graphical Server subsystem in Linux displays graphics on the monitor screen. 
  • Desktop Environment- A Desktop Environment is the interaction interface of Linux. Desktop Environment extends numerous built-in features like gaming, web browser, configuration tools, settings, etc. In addition, users can choose from various environments like GNOME, Cinnamon, Mate, Pantheon, Enlightenment, etc. 
  • Applications- Linux has high-qualified applications installed immediately from a centralised location, just like Ubuntu. In addition, it is user-friendly and includes app store-like tools for easier navigation and configuration.

Check out our free technology courses to get an edge over the competition.

Linux Tutorial For Beginners: Prerequisites

There are no precise prerequisites. Thoroughly read this Linux tutorial to learn what Linux is, its basics, the Linux command line, and more. Even without purchasing a new computer, you can learn Linux. Within your current Windows or Mac OS systems, you can run Linux! The next section provides detailed instructions on how to obtain Linux. 

Ads of upGrad blog

How To Obtain Linux

Before getting started with this Linux commands tutorial, learn the ways to obtain Linux. Learning Linux requires practice, just like you need practice to learn to ride a bike. Consequently, check that you are entitled to a terminal before beginning. Luckily, there are several options to obtain Linux:

  • Lucky for you, if you’re using Mac as a terminal it is already available. 
  • Running Linux is an additional choice. There are several excellent Linux distributions available, and it is absolutely free. While some suggest Ubuntu (which is well-liked and simple to use), others suggest OpenSUSE. There are several routes you can pursue if you adopt this strategy. 
    • Have a PC/laptop at home? Simply install and run it. 
    • Also, one can try installing both Linux and Windows on their computer. They can do so by setting up a dual boot system. Get the freedom to choose whichever OS you want as soon as the machine boots. When you install most contemporary Linux distributions, they will take care of generating this for you and resizing any existing Windows partitions as well. 
  • One can use Linux on virtual or digital machines too. To do so, you can use the free tool – VirtualBox. People with remote access to their computers at home or office can remotely log into these systems for terminal access. 

Now, what is this terminal we’re talking about in this Linux commands tutorial? Let’s find out. 

Terminal or Linux Shell 

Essentially, a shell or a terminal is a program that accepts user commands and transmits them to the operating system for processing. Later, the shell displays the output. Its key component is the Linux shell. Although some of its distributions have a GUI (graphical user interface), Linux mostly uses a CLI. We’ll go over the fundamental commands used in the Linux shell in this tutorial. 

This is why our Linux command line tutorial is also referred to as the Linux shell scripting tutorial. Simply go to Ubuntu, tap the buttons ‘ctrl + alt + T’ or ‘alt + F2,’ type gnome-terminal, and hit Enter. And then, you’ll successfully launch the terminal. Enter lxterminal into the Raspberry Pi. There is a GUI method as well, but this is superior! 

The Linux Command Line

A Linux command line is an interface of text input from the user and commands executed by the system. The user has to manually type the commands for it to display on-screen and get executed by OS.


First, open the Linux command line and pop open a command tool/command prompt by pressing the “CTRL+ALT+T” keys together. 

Logging in to Linux through a tool like PuTTY, will ready the command line on its own. When the command line is opened up, the user might see a prompt like (user@system:~$), which implies the system is ready to execute your commands. 


The commands can complete all tasks on Linux, and they occur at the interface of the Linux terminal, though these commands are case-sensitive. Press the “CTRL+ALT+T” keys together to open the Linux terminal and execute any command by pressing the “ENTER” key. 

Here are a few important commands to keep in mind while you learn the Linux command line:

Explore Our Software Development Free Courses


  • pwd command- Used to display the location of the current directory. Syntax: pwd
  • mkdir command- Used to create a new directory under any directory. Syntax: mkdir <directory name>


  • touch command- Used to create multiple empty files. Syntax: touch <file name> and touch <file 1> <file 2>….<file n>
  • cat command- Used to create a file, display its contents, copy the contents, etc. Syntax: cat [OPTION]…[FILE]… etc. Press “CTRL+D” keys together to save the file.

Check out upGrad: Java Bootcamp

Explore our Popular Software Engineering Courses


  • head command- Used to display the first ten lines of the contents of a file. Syntax: head <file name>
  • tac command- The reverse of the cat command, it displays the file contents from the end. Syntax: tac <file name>


  • su command- Allows administration control from one user to another over Linux. Syntax: su <username>
  • id command- Used to display the group ID or the User ID. Syntax: id

Check Out upGrad Advanced Certification in DevOps


  • The sed command- Also called the stream editor; it helps in editing files and displays the edited content, without saving any data permanently. Syntax: command | sed’s / <oldWord> / <newWord> /’
  • tr command- The tr command is used to translate file content. Syntax: command | tr <’old’> <’new’>

Learn Software development Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Executive PG Programs, Advanced Certificate Programs, or Masters Programs to fast-track your career.


  • The find command- Used to find certain files within the directory. The (.) symbol is used to find current directory names, and the (/) is used to find any roots. Syntax: find. -name “*pdf”
  • The date command- Used to find dates, time zones, etc. Syntax: date 

In-Demand Software Development Skills


  • The ip command- Used to assign any IP address or initialise/disable any system interface. Syntax: ip or an ip addr
  • The mail command- Used to send emails from the command line. Syntax: mail -s “Subject” <recipient address> 

3 Tips To Use The Linux Command Line

  • If the terminal becomes overrun with commands, you can clean it with a clear command.
  •  To refuel in the terminal, use TAB. For instance, all you have to type is “cd Doc” followed by TAB, and the terminal will fill in the remainder and change it to “cd Documents.” 
  • You can securely terminate any command at the terminal by using Ctrl+C. If that doesn’t stop it, pressing Ctrl+Z will force a halt. 

Read our Popular Articles related to Software Development

Fulfilling your goal to be an expert developer 

Learning Linux as an aspiring developer is indeed a work of dedication as much as it is a fuel for career improvement. If you aim to become a developer, too,  then upGrad’s online Executive PG Program in Software Development- Specialisation in Full Stack Development is an excellent choice.

Ads of upGrad blog

The Full Stack Development curriculum is prepared under the guidance of industry professionals and faculty members. Here is why this course is ideal for aspiring developers:

  1. IIT Bangalore alumni status
  2. 4-month Executive Certification in Data and Science and Machine Learning, free of cost.
  3. Software Transition Bootcamp for new coders.
  4. Exclusive access to Data and Machine Learning.
  5. UpGrad 360-degree career support: e-portfolio to submit to companies, job fairs, mock interviews.
  6. 45+ online live sessions and 1:1 guidance.
  7. 7+ case studies and projects.
  8. 10 Programming tools and languages.
  9. 400+ hours of content.

With a minimum eligibility of a Bachelor’s Degree with 50% or equivalent passing marks and a preferred (but not mandatory) knowledge of coding, upGrad’s course comprises fundamentals of Computer Science, Software Development Operations, Backend APIs and Web UIs. It is ideal for software developers, IT professionals, Tech Support professionals and aspiring developer-freshers.

The syllabus includes topics such as –

  1. Basics of Java Programing
  2. Object-oriented programing in Java
  3. OOD + Software Engineering 
  4. Data structures and algorithms
  5. Soft skills
  6. User interfaces and front-end development
  7. Backend development
  8. Software architecture and deployment
  9. Capstone projects
  10. Prerequisites as needed by the curriculum 

Sign up today to learn more! 


Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is the use of Aspell in Linux?

Aspell stands for the Spelling Checker in the Linux operating system. As the name suggests, the Aspell program is a drop-in replacement and can be used as a stand-alone tool in the Linux command lines. However, it is mainly used by programs to utilize its spelling-check capabilities.

2How do I access files larger than 10 MB in the in/usd directory?

The following commands when run on Linux help access files larger than 10 MB in the in/usd dictionary: # find /usr -size +10M -exec ls -lah {} ;

3What is the use of the strings command in Linux?

The purpose of the strings command in Linux is to extract and put forth the humanly readable contents from any non-text file.