Quick reference guide Scientific Linux for DESY

Previous Contents Index Next 

1. General remarks

This is a summary of the most frequently used Linux (user) commands. The majority of commands is available not only for Scientific Linux but also for other flavors of Linux and UNIX. Depending on the operating system a command may have different options, arguments and hence also slightly different functionality. Whenever differences exist, this guide tries to describe the variants valid for Scientific Linux.

This guide is designed for use at DESY and describes the commands available on centrally managed systems. It means that some aliases, shell functions and scripts described here do not necessarily exist elsewhere.

Those commands are flagged with the letters A or N. To make these aliases and commands available on other systems we do provide the web page


with pointers to the missing pieces, source code and further background information. That page should be a good starting point for sysadmins wanting to modify their systems accordingly.

Some commands (such as passwd) have been modified to suit the needs at DESY or have been configured carefully (e.g zsh, alpine) to enhance its functionality. These commands are marked with a M at the right margin.

Tools and packages may be missing that are popular at other sites. Not all commands described here are available on all platforms.

For a command usually only the most common options and arguments are listed. No attempt is made to describe all options, arguments and modes of usage. For a concise description of a command please refer to the man pages ( man command) and other available documentation.

The arguments to a command usually undergo further processing by the shell, if characters such as *, ?, =, \ , () or {} are used. If such characters are to be processed by the command and not by the shell, the arguments must be quoted as e.g. in locate "*/core". Without the quotes the command will probably not do what you expect. Single quotes have to be used, if really all characters (such as $) have to be transferred to the command.

Commands that provide a graphical user interface (GUI) are described in less detail than other commands, as most of the options and features can be selected interactively. Those commands do usually come with a (context sensitive) help system.

You are very welcome to give me feedback by email (Wolfgang DOT Friebel AT desy DOT de) and to help improving this guide. Should you encounter
- incorrectly described commands,
- commands that should be included in this summary or that should be left out,
- important command sequences that are hard to remember,
- typos, better English style etc.
then I would very much appreciate hearing from you.

Previous Contents Index Next